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Us 42, United States 42, Russia 32, Assad 25, U.s. 19, Washington 16, Egypt 16, Syrians 12, China 10, Iran 10, Libya 10, Israel 9, France 7, Steven Sloan 7, Mccain 7, Assad Regime 6, Pennsylvania 6, Tunisia 5, Canada 5, Europe 5,
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  CSPAN    Politics Public Policy Today    News/Business.  

    November 30, 2012
    10:30 - 6:00am EST  

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to the syrians after the fall of the regime, because syria is not like libya. libya, at least the had resources, their own resources sources. syria has nothing except human beings. syria, the capital is one of the old as capitals in the world. this is why if syria -- they need international support. the only way to invest in syria in the future, by building strong internationally. build a strong the national education system.
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this is the only way you can invest in syrians. this is why syria has to have a long-term plan to recover. syria needs at least $60 billion to recover. with all the destruction that we have in all of our cities. i will end here and i will be more than happy to answer questions that you have a. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> the first thing i would like to ask you, trying to look more into the new syrian position, my concern is that the rights of
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the minorities and in the new syrian opposition has not been really addressed as the same issues were also presented. how do you address this issue? your last. trying to think about what is going to happen next, that is an issue that the new syrian position should address. >> the rights of the minorities is an important issue. sometimes we emphasize the issues from their own perspective.
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when the syrian uprising started, christians, alliance, and christians being killed by participating. he decided to go back to his hometown. he is from damascus, but he is playing a role by training journalist to do the video to document the crimes. he is being killed. he became one of the icons of the syrian revolution. it is many, many names.
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this is why the leader of the syrian council is kurdish and the third leader is christian. we do not have any problems being christian or kurdish or any background if you are committed to the interest of the syrian people. what kind of guarantees can the syrian opposition can give to the minorities? we can see clearly that this is up to the syrian people after the fall of the assad regime. the nature of the syrian revolution has no discrimination against any minorities. this is why we do not have any fear that specific actions will
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be taken against minorities, against christians. we do not forget at the same assad -- if you are the assad regime, but it belongs to the alawites. if you are made specific group within the alawite community, you are investing in the civil war. there is a fear about the future of the alawite community. since many from the community, they played a role killing other syrians for money, for support from the security forces.
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but we are committed to the syrians for all. we are proposing within the opposition a program called a transitional justice that can assure all the minorities to be a part from syria -- in 1956 the prime minister, the majority of the christians. a minority of the minority. even that as he became prime minister for two terms. the muslims have 4 seats in parliament and this supported his positions. in syria we did not have a history of civil war. many changes in the social fabric. i think the nature of the syrian society as a conciliation
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between still exists. this is a great asset that syrians have. we are proud as a diverse society. we are proud to have all of the syrians contributing to the syrian revolution. >> thank you. will open up a q and a. >> thank you. i have a question regarding -- there is a concern about other are different ideologies between the opposition. i think an example was sell a couple of weeks ago some of islamist groups proclaimed against the opposition saying it was was turned supported. i wanted to ask you, what are
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the ideology's between the opposition's. how could is affecting their position. >> can we take one more. the guy in the back. >> is today the ambassador to syria reiterated the fear that if the u.s. provides weapons to the syrian opposition they will wind up in the hands of extremists. i was wondering if you could speak about what the new coalition is specifically doing to build a closer relationship with the three syrian army and various militias fighting on the ground. it seems more likely the syrian opposition will receive assistance if the new coalition can show they are in away
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unified with the people doing the fighting. >> thank you. >> the u.s. position has been repeated many times that we will not give assistance, it may go to the wrong hands. if the u.s. stays in its position, they are getting the money from some groups in the gulf countries or in other areas. you can play a role in the transition rather than waiting until the transition is done. the lack of support, we see the increasing influence of t.
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this is the fear we have. this is a shared concern of the international community. we do not need the nature of the syrian people -- committed to the international community and the humanity to be a in the hands of the extremists. this is our concern before. we cannot see for the people fighting against the assad role , sorry, we do not need your help. we are promised maybe next month or 10 years later, that is when they get the support. i do not think that. this has been changing as i said before day-by-day. the reluctance of actions of supporting the free syrian army
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who defected have allowed for islamists and extremist to exist. this is why every day we are in the same -- the same questions we are not shaping the future of assyria. rather than changing its policy and supporting and helping out the good guys, the fighters from the army that deflected, in each city we have military councils. this is a serious issue for the west. see stories every day about this. if you go to the ground in syria, it is only two or 3% from
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the fighters coming from the end to a modest background. this is not the issue that the serbs are concerned about now. how to st this is an issue for the western media, but this is not the priority. we have concerned about the increasing relations of members of the armed forces or the armed opposition is. we are really concerned about that. we see cases of torture,
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killings, execution. there are individual cases, it is not like what the assad regime committed day-by-day. we are concerned. we condemn all the human rights violations committed by any side. at the same time this is a side effect. these are the consequences of the election. if there is no action that has been taken to protect the civilians. regarding the ideologies of the opposition, the syrian society is very rich. you have different people coming
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from different backgrounds. that, of course, is reflected on their ideology. all syrians share the same goal that assad has to go. syrians have the right to choose their government, the president, and any individual to run the world. as these ideologies are conflicting right now, that is normal. we see that in egypt. each side tries to extend its power through institutions, through the constitution. i think this is a healthy discussion, especially after 40 years of dictatorship. the people are not used to
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sharing their opinions and hearing other opinions. they need some time to be able to reconcile all of the different ideologies. at the end, i believe in the syrian people that they will be able to end the assad regime. >> thank you. i would like to debate on the ideologies and the syrian opposition. i will let you go into this issue. can you talking about the role played by the syrian muslim brotherhood within the opposition. the majority of the seats still
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being that of the muslim brotherhood. the leaders are close -- what is the role played by them? >> i think the united states has to deal with the reality with the rise of muslim brotherhood and the whole region, not only in to nietzsche, egypt. the difference from country to another country of course. -- tunisia, egypt. when they are part of the government. if we analyze their behavior as an example, they are often told
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to share with their positions in the government and the parliament. in egypt they have some problems right now with the position of the egyptian president which belongs to the muslim brotherhood. at the same time we see morsi play an important role between negotiating between israel and hamas and being supported by the united states. this is why i do not have a fear of + about the role of the muslim brotherhood. even though sometimes the fear we have right now -- we can call them exactly like the christian democrats and in europe. they need some time to be more
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able -- to be able -- they are very successful on the side of the opposition. right now in sight of the government, there is a tremendous responsibility. we have seen that from the parliamentarian elections were the muslim brothers in egypt but the majority. until the results, they lost 4 million of votes. this is why we have a responsibility in the united states to support democratic institutions not allowing any ideological block to hijack the
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revolution or the institutions. at the same time, not taking sides. that will have a negative impact. it is an important asset to combat the jihad tests or the extremists. -- jihadists or the extremists. the muslim brothers in tunisia .ccused this is why we have to a differentiates between the muslim brothers and the girondists. do not put all the islamists in
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one basket. -- jihadists. do not put all the islamists in one basket. are they committed to values. this is the most important thing. >> and we have seen in syria where they had a violent fight between the muslim brothers and the alawites. that is a particular case in the region. >> this is why the muslim brothers in syria will be different than other countries. in egypt they built their own social network during the mubarak regime. there is a resolution called 49,
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which actually everybody belonging to the muslim brothers will be executed. this is why nobody inside syria can say -- there is a lot, they can be executed. that is still affected -- that is still effective today. that is why it is hard to believe they will play a crucial role in the future. they do not have such a social network. syrian and society is different. -- syrian society is different. you cannot say that the muslim brotherhood is dominating. right now, of course, who are
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the fighters? to have some islamist values. they would sacrifice their lives. the revolution is different than election days. we have seen that in libya. >> we will now take the next two questions. >> dr., to run for the presentation today. two quick questions. -- thank you for the presentation today. do you look at this week with the successes the opposition had on the ground, around damascus, as a turning point as well? do you think when assad goes, will it be gradual or a collapse of the regime? >> we would like to take one more. if there is anybody else who has
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not spoken yet, please. >> i just want to go back to the discussion about the new coalition be informed. in many ways it is the same as the previous opposition movement. what really has changed? if you could speak to that. really more about the motivation as to why they reformed. >> yes. why we have seen a very progressive and the free syrian army, of course, the border is quite open. as you know as a military person, you have to keep your
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channels open. the difficulties of damascus and the damascus suburb, the channels are not really open. this is why jordan cannot play an important decision. the progress that the free syrian army has with all of the problems they have, they make steady progress. the army channels was open with turkey. turkey allowed all of the arms to cross the border. you can go from turkey right now. this has not happened with the damascus suburb.
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this is why much of the work has to create army channels in the south. if the opposition was able to secure such a channel, that will change. we see right now, the free syrian army was able to capture many military bases not only in the north but to damascus suburb. this is why the increasing use of the air force, because the fear of the assad regime. the free syrian army was able to control all of the suburbs and to organize itself and get inside to the city and control the city.
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this is why they fear from the damascus to be repeated. this is why they are fighting with the presence of the free syrian army. this is why the huge number of casualties being killed every day and all of that area. this is why my expectation that if the international community -- the assad regime in one or two months will collapse. if they allow things, it will take some time. the free syrian army has to be more organized. the number of the casualties will increase day-by-day.
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unless the international community decides to take action and provide the free syrian army with arms. with the question regarding the opposition, this is a dangerous game from the international community to blame the opposition and put all of the responsibilities on the opposition. 90% of the task into the hands of the international community. at the same time, the opposition has a responsibility to demonstrate to the international community that syria will not fall -- that it will be messy
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after the fall of the assad regime. this is why there is a huge debate to form a government, to start in the liberated area and extend its power through all of the areas. this is all of the discussion right now about who has the right to form transitional government. we hosted a conference in in istanbul last month with more than 212 members of the opposition attended, among them 83 activists inside syria. we said that the best way to form a government with 300
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members, that will include the three syrian army, the national council, the new coalition and all the different groups. still, of course, this conference should be held inside syria. still, i think the international community from far away committed itself to do military actions against the assad regime. the possibility to have the conference inside syria, it is quite difficult. at the same time, the new coalition now debating and discussing the formation of the new government and from my perspective, to have all the opposition figures in one
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united group, it is impossible. you cannot bring democracy to these republics. cannabinol different fractions into the opposition -- there are liberals, there are communists. you cannot put them in one organization with the islamists. they all share the same goal. assad has to go. collet transitional government -- this one will be responsible -- called it transitional government, this one will be responsible. will have positions like the minister of defense he will be responsible for harming the three syrian army or building central command. -- for our meeting the freed
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syrian army and building a central command. we need a body to be able to do all of these things. you will keep all of the political organizations. they can have the government work in a much better way. the dream to have all of the opposition figures and what organization, i do not think that will happen. day-by-day you will have no opposition figures and leaders rising -- new opposition figures and leaders rising. this is what happened with the syrian national council. the syrian national council to include more opposition, we ended up with an organization
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with more than 600 members. we had the last assembly with 400 members. at the same time, you cannot take actions -- this is why i think the best way to do right now to form a transitional government, ought to do the work of the syrian revolution rather than trying to build new organizations will have the same mistakes that happened before. >> to follow up on your question, they were trying to target and we can the regime and up to now we have seen 73 high
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officers including military officials defected. so is this really working to weaken the regime with this kind of strategy? >>of course with the defection of the former prime minister and the military. the regime can no longer rely on his army. the assad regime is not thinking to send any troops to the northern part.
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he has no more resources to send. he can not rely on the army anymore. he still has soem groups within the army like the republican guard, special forces loyal to him. the special forces are not spread in the whole country.we know the days of assad is counting. we are always talking about the prize and the times. 'this is our repsonsibility to put an end to the tragedy. the whoe country cut off from the internet. we do not know what will happen -- the fear because we provide
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the activists with internet devices, they are still uploading all of the videos. there is a huge fear among the activists about what will happen because the whole country went offline. >> we will take one question. we would like to talk about foreign stakeholders' liked iran and russia. >>thank you for your answers. i'm looking for something a little bit more specific. what is the relation between the new coalition and the military council? do you think they can become an
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administrative body for the revolution or a government in exile as you just described? >> is there a follow-up question? >> the new coalition actually put three things they have to do. the first to form a new government and to form a military council, and in the third thing the to play a role in the humanitarian assistance or humanitarian aid. the debate right now within the new coalition, are we able to form a government until we get it in guarantees from the international community, suc.
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restated three examples before of government in exile. if there is no recognition of the international community, there is nothing the government in exile can do. the second thing is the financial assistance. i said before, after the formation of the serbian national council, six months we don't have what we need to do. you cannot work as a workin exile with individual budgets. the relationship with the freed
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syrian army is quite difficult. they need the support. we do not look to the united states as a humanitarian assistance. we look for the united states as leadership. everyone looking for the united states to play a role in the leadership. the united states can only demonstrate such leadership. the united states is the only country that can train the free syrian army to build a central command. this is why every time they see that, to increase the humanitarian aid. we are thankful for that, but we do not expect the united states
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to do humanitarian assistance. other countries can do this part. we are looking for the leadership from the united states, especially at this specific time. the united states is the only country that can build the coalition to take action. france called for aid, nothing happened. turkey called for safe haven, nothing happened. everybody is looking to the united states. unfortunately, it is the same position since august of last year, which focused more on the target sanctions and all of that. unless there is actually a change in the u.s. position to take more action, i do not think something will change in the military. building a central command of the free syrian army, that needs
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training, international assistance. that is something only the united states can do. >> do you have a follow up question? >> my question is, you have said the days of asad are numbered and it is only a matter of time before he falls. what can we expect to happen with them when he falls? will we see a scene similar to libya where his body is dragged through the streets? will he be tried in syria? what do you envision to happen, and what do you hope to happen? >> that is difficult to answer. we know the days of the regime is approaching.
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that may take one year or more. we see that with the reluctance and the hesitance of the international community, the increase of the side effects. the rise of the islamists. this is why when the uprising started, we will make sure a democratic state will be replaced after the regime. with all of the side effects, now we are in the middle of conflict. the reluctance of the international community to take action, that will take time. it will be more difficult. i think the most important thing right now and the three things i mentioned, he needs to be tried
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in an international court. we need him to be tried in front of the international criminal court as a war criminal for the crimes he committed against the syrian people. that is where we send a message to all leaders. we send a message to the international community about the commitment of the syrian people to build a justice system. we do not need it to happen -- many syrians believe he has to be executed. i think assad has to be tried for the crimes he committed against the syrian people. the concern i have of the side
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effects of the consequences, as the conflict prolongs we will have more side effects. they became the main group fighters. they have been accused by the united states and others as linked to al qaeda. because of lack of assistance and lack of the support, the freedom fighters, they can get, we see the emergence of the other groups. this is why the an action is not an option. -- inaction is not an option. the united states took no action. no action is not an option
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because of the consequences. if the united states put it as a priority it for the policy in the middle east and cut off the connection between assad and iran, you have to cut off the assad regime. making iran much weaker. iran and russia are the main suppliers of the assad regime. russians are still supplying and supporting the assad regime. all the assad army, it is
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soviet union troops. this is why i see a vital u.s. interest in ending the assad regime. the side effects might the consequences, the create more options. >> you have been talking about the international community. i think that as long as the interest of key countries like you just mentioned, russia, the only port they have outside of russian territory in syria. or after the sanctions on iran, syria became the major importer for weapons from russia. veryimportant issue for russia, as well as iran sending fighters
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to fight along the lines of the regime. as well as china with the issue of human rights. as long as the international community does not address the interests of the importance stakeholders, that is not really going to help. what is your take on that? >> i think they have very short form policy. i have been in moscow and we met with the russian minister of foreign affairs. syria and russia have a relationship. we need to keep such a relationship, but with such short policies by defending the assad regime, you of making such
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a relationship very difficult. i think the syrians see russia the same as they see the assad regime. when you see your brother and sister being killed every day -- i have been in syria and i have lots of examples. when the syrian people solve all of this happen for them, of course, they will change their position on russia. i think for russia to keep their ambassador, it is difficult to keep him in damascus. any government in the future, they will put their relationship with russia and iran as a
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priority. there are many voices within the opposition, and the syrian government should be open to negotiations about the role of iran supporting the assad regime. there are eye reports of the presence of hezbollah. should they be accountable for what they have done to the syrian people. most of the snipers are being trained by iranians. i met with the prime minister, and he told me that the last meeting he had with assad, and assad told him we just got a new deal with the russians.
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there is an increasing concern that the syrians have about the future role of iran and russia in their future. >>one final question from the audience. i will ask you a final question. we have heard about the role they have played in this conflict. you have commented you have been there several times -- if you
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could talk a little bit about guitar and a saudi relations regarding syria. >> before the arab at spurring the there were active in what is called conflict sarah lucien -- conflict resolution. they played a role with the different factions and the palestinians. this is nothing new for them. they have already equipped the minister of foreign affairs. they are actually -- they have the experience to deal with asian. when the syrian uprising started, they have very good relationship.
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they have a very good relationship with the assad regime, unliek the lybians. unlike khaddafi. assad has a strong relationship. we have to keep our relationships with the syrian people or the assad regime, that's pushed them to change their positions and their policy to support the syrian people. they are playing a role, especially turkey, when they send it to damascus and
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daytime's, the less time in july. -- damascus many times, the last time and to live. this is why i think we should put this into consideration. there is no consistent policy to change the assad regime. but the policies of the assad regime make enemies for him. if you turn on the state media, you will proclaim now we have international policy against syria. this is the policy of the assad regime that lead them to be an enemy for all of their previous
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friends. qatar knows the importance of the politics of syria. syria is the only country connected to iraq, israel -- 3 countries that urgency is graphically connected in the center by syria. syria has a very important location. this is why if they left syria to be controlled by iran as the asad regime is doing, they will lose their battle. i can see right now -- syria has become an open ground for many wars between the united states,
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the russians,iran, the saudis. we try to avoid that from the beginning. we do not need syrians to play the role of the victims of the international and proxy wars. the policies of the regime puts syria and such a position right now. i think right now the focus of the syrian people to get rid of the assad regime. their responsibilities of in the future will be to build the government that has good relationships with all the nations and at the same time
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the desires of the syrian people to have a free country. >> thank you. i would like to leave it to you to sum up in one minute. >>thank you for hosting me at som -- such an important time for the syrian people. i hope all of us here can play a role. we hope that the obama administration will put syria as a priority in its foreign policiy. we see the clinton administration in the 1990's, put an end for that. looking to the obama
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administration, what can the next secretary of state do to help the syrian people and such a critical time. >> thank you everybody for being here. i hope to see you next friday for our conference on jordan. thank you. [applause] >> tonight we will look at the white house and congress and how they are addressing the fiscal cliff. first president obama speaks in pennsylvania followed by house speaker john banner responding from capitol hill. then eric cantor response to the white house deficit reduction package. later, nancy pelosi addresses the fiscal cliff and middle- class tax cuts. tomorrow on ", washington ""
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robert -- "washington journal," robert van order on the mortgage loan forgiveness. adult'eman on being an with autism. plus, your emails, phone calls, and tweets. >> c-span, created by cable companies and venture 1979, brought to you as a public service by >> president obama talked about the so-called fiscal cliff and his proposal to end the bush era tax cuts. he spoke at a manufacturing
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facility in hatfield, pennsylvania, for about 25 minutes. >> thank you! [cheers and applause] >> well, good morning, everybody. everybody, please have a seat, have a seat. relax for a second. it is good to see all of you. hello, hatfield! it is good to be back in pennsylvania and it is good to be right here at connects. i want to thank michael airington and the inventor of connects, joel glickman, for hosting me today. where'd they go? stand up so everybody can see you guys.
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there you go! i just noticed, we got a couple of outstanding members of congress here. chaka pata, and allison schwartz. i just finished getting a tour of the connects workshop. i have to say, it makes me wish that joel had invented this stuff a little sooner when i was a kid. back then, you couldn't really build a rollercoaster out of your erector set. i also got a chance to meet some of the folks who have been working around the clock to keep up with the christmas rush and that's a good thing. these guys are santa's extra elfs here. they manufacture almost 3,000 connects pieces every minute and every box that ends up on store shelves in 30 countries is stamped "made in america" and
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that's something to be proud of. something to be proud of. [cheers and applause] by the way, i hope the camera folks had a chance to take a look at some of the connects including that flag made out of connects and joe biden was in costco, he wanted to buy some of this stuff but i told him he had too much work to do. i wasn't going to have him building rollercoasters all day long. of course, santa delivers everywhere. i have been keeping my own naughty and nice list for washington. so you should keep your eye on who gets some connects this year. they're going to be some members of congress who get them and some who don't.
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[applause] this is a wonderful time of year. it's been a few weeks since a long election finally came to an end and obviously i couldn't be more honored to be back in the white house, but i'm already missing the time that i spent on the campaign visiting towns like this and talking to folks like you. >> we love you! >> i love you back. [cheers and applause] the benefits of traveling and getting out of the white house is it gives you a chance to have a conversation with the american people about what kind of country do we want to be and what kind of country do we want to leave to our kid. i believe america only thrives when we have a strong and growing middle class and i believe we're at our best when everybody who works hard has a chance to get ahead. that's what i believe and i know that's what the founders of this
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company believe, as well. we were talking about these guys' dads who i understand just passed away at the age of 101. so these guys have good genes, in addition to inventive minds and the story of generations starting businesses, hiring folks, making sure that if you work hard you can get ahead, that's what america's all about and that's at the heart of the plan i have been talking about all year. i want to reward manufacturers like this one and small businesses that create jobs here in the united states, not overseas. i want to -- [applause] >> and by the way, this is a company, one of the few companies in the toy industry that have aggressively moved jobs back here. that's a great story to tell.
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because we got the best workers in the world and the most productive workers in the world and so we need champions for american industry creating jobs here in the united states. i want to give more americans the chance to earn the skills that businesses are looking for right now and i want to give our children the kind of education they need in the 21st century. i want america to lead the world in research and technology and clean energy. i want to the put people back to work rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our schools, and i want to do all this while bringing down our deficits in a balanced and responsible way. now on this last point, you've probably heard a lot of talk in washington and in the media about the deadlines that we're
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facing on jobs and taxes and investments. this is not some run-of-the-mill debate. this isn't about which political xeart come out on top in negotiations. we've got important decisions to make that will have a real impact on businesses and families all across the country. our ultimate goal, our long-term goal is, to get our long-term deficit under control in a way that is balanced and is fair. that would be good for businesses, for our economy, for future generations, and i believe both parties can and will work together in the coming weeks to get that done. we know how that gets done. we're going to have to raise a little more revenue. we have to cut spending we don't need. and if we combine those two things, we can create a path where america's paying its bills while still being able to make investments in the things we need to grow like education and
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infrastructure. we know how to do that but in washington nothing's easy so there's going to be prolonged negotiations and all of us are going to have to get out of our comfort zones to make that happen. i'm willing to do that. i'm hopeful that enough members of congress in both parties are willing to do that, as well. we can solve these problems, but where the clock is really ticking right now is on middle class taxes. at the end of the year, middle class taxes currently in place are set to expire, middle class tax cuts surge in place are set to expire. there are two things that can happen. if conditioning does nothing, every family in america will see their income taxes automatically go up on january 1. every family, every family,
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everybody here, you'll see your taxes go up on january 1. i'm assuming that doesn't sound too good to you. that's sort of like the lump of coal you get for christmas. that's a scrooge christmas. a typical middle class family of four would see their income taxes go up by about $2,2,000. that's a typical family. it would be more for some folks. that's money a lot of families can't afford to lose. less money to buy gas, less money to buy groceries. in some cases it means tougher choices between paying the rent and saving for college. it means less money to buy more k'nex. just the other day, economists that said if income taxes go up on the middle class, people will
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nearly $200 billion less in stores and online. and when folks are buying fewer clothes or cars or toys, that's not good for our businesses, it's not good for our economy, it's not good for employment so that's one path -- congress does nothing, we don't deal with this looming tax hike middle class families and starting in january hit with this big tax hike and businesses suddenly see fewer customers, less demand. the economy, which we have been fighting for four years to get out of this incredible economic crisis that we have, it starts stalling again. so that's one path. the good news is, there's a second option. right now conditioning can pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on first $250,000 of everybody's income, everybody. so that means 98% of americans,
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97% of small businesses, wouldn't see their income taxes go up by a single dime because 98% of americans make $250,000 a or less. 97% of small businesses make year or less so if you say income taxes don't go up for any income above $250,000, the vast majority of americans, they don't see a tax hike. but here's the thing, even the top 2%,even folks who make more than $250,000, they'd still keep their tax cut on first $250,000 of income so it would still be for the for them, too, to get that done. families would have a sense of security going into the new year. companies like this one would know what to expect in terms of planning for next year and the year after. that means people's jobs would be secure.
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the sooner congress gets this done, the sooner our economy would get a boost and it would then give us in washington more time to work together on that longrange plan to bring down deficits in a balanced way. tax reform, working on entitlements and asking the wealthiest norns -- americans to pay a little bit more so we can keep investing in education and research and things that make us strong. those are the choice that is we have. this was a central question in the election, maybe the central question in the election. you remember, we talked about this a lot. it wasn't like this should be a surprise to anybody. had debates about it. there were a lot of tv commercials about it and at the end of the day, a clear majority of americans -- democrats, republicans, independents -- they agreed with a balanced
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approach to deficit reduction and making sure middle class taxes don't go up. folks agreed to that. the good news is, we're starting to see a few republicans coming around to it, too. i'm talking about republicans in congress. so the reason i'm here is because i want the american people to urge congress soon -- in the next week, the next two weeks -- to begin the work we have by doing what we all agree on. both parties agree that we should extend the middle class tax cuts. we have disagreements about the high-end tax cuts. republicans don't want to raise taxes on folks like me. i think i can pay a little bit more to make sure kids can go to college and we can build roads and invest in n.i.h. so we're finding cures for alzheimer's and that's a disagreement that we will have and we will get
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sorted out but we all agree on making sure middle class taxes don't go up. so let's get that done. let's take the fear out for the vast majority of american families so they don't want have to worry about $2,000 coming out of this pockets starting next year. the senate has already passed a bill to keep income taxes going up on middle class families. that's already passed the senate. your members of congress, other democrats in the house, they're ready to go. they're ready to vote on that same thing and if we can just get a few house republicans on board, we can pass the bill in the house, it will land on my desk and i am ready. i've got a bunch of pens ready to sign this bill. i'm ready to sign it. [cheers and applause] i'm ready to sign it. there are no shortage of pens in
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and i carry one around for an emergency just in case, just waiting for the chance to use it to sign this bill to make sure people's taxes don't go up. don't thank me yet, because i haven't signed it. i need some help from congress. so the key is, though, the american people have to be involved. it's not going to be enough for me to just do this on my own so i'm hopeful that both sides are going to come together and do the right thing but we all know you can't take anything for granted when it comes to washington, let's face it. that's why i'm going to be asking for awful you to make your voices heard over the next few days and the next couple of weeks. i need you to remind members of conditioning, democrats and republicans, to not get bogged down in partisan bickering but
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let's focus on the people who sent us to washington and make sure that we're doing the right thing by them so i want you to call, i want you to send an email, post on their facebook wall. if you tweet, then use a hash tag we're calling my 2k, not y2k, but my 2k because it's about your 2k in your pocket. we're trying to burn that into people's minds. in the meantime, i'm doing my part. i'm meeting with every constituency group out there. we're talking to c.e.o.'s, we're talking to labor groups, we're talking to civic groups, i'm talking to media outlets just the american people, this is not that complicated. let's make sure middle class
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taxes don't go up. let's get that done in the next couple of weeks. let's also work together on a fair and balanced, responsible plan so that we are paying our bills, we're not spending on things we don't need but we are still spending on the things that make us grow. that's the kind of fair, balanced, responsible plan i talked about during the campaign and that's what the majority of americans believe in so i'm hopeful but i'm going to need folks like you, the people here in hatfield and pennsylvania and across the country, to get this done. a lot of's riding on this debate. this is too important to our economy. it's too important for our families, to not get done and it's not acceptable to me and i don't think it's acceptable for you for a handful of republicans in congress to hold middle class tax cuts hostage simply because they don't want tax rates on upper income folks to go up. that doesn't make sense.
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[applause] if your voices are heard, then we can help businesses like this one, we're going to sell a whole bunch of k'nex. let's give families all across america the kind of security and certainty they deserve during the holiday season. let's keep our economy on the right track. let's stand up for the american belief that each of us have our own dreams and aspirations but we're also in this together and we can work together in a responsible way, that we're one people and we're one nation. that's what this country's about. that's what all of you deserve. that's what i'm fighting for every single day and i will keep fighting for as long as i have the privilege of being your president. thank you very much, everybody. god bless america.
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♪ [captions performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> house speaker john boehner responded to president obama's remarks in pennsylvania on the economy and the so-called fiscal
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cliff. he spoke to reporters on capitol hill. this is about 10 minutes. >> good afternoon, everyone. the president traveled to pennsylvania to visit a small business today to talk about the fiscal cliff. unfortunately, the president and members of his own party who were proposing that we let many small businesses -- as in hundreds of thousands of them -- go over the fiscal cliff. simply put, that's why we don't have an agreement as yet. they said yesterday, this is not a game. i used to be a small business owner. small business owners are regular men and women from all backgrounds who, in today's economy, are facing challenges on a daily basis. the president's tax increase would be another crippling blow for them while doing little to nothing to solve the bigger problem here, our national deficit and national debt. this debt doesn't exist because
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we don't tax small businesses enough, it exists because washington continues to spend too much and raising taxes on small businesses instead of taking a balanced approach that also cuts spending is wrong. it's only going to make it harder for our economy to grow and if our economy doesn't grow, americans don't get new jobs and the debt problem that we have will continue to threaten our children's future. as i said the day after the election, republicans are not seeking to impose our will on the president. we're seeking a biparty an solution that can pass both chambers of congress and be signed into law by the president in the coming days. during the campaign, the president pledged to the american people that he would seek a balanced approach to addressing the debt, a combination of new revenues and spending cuts. so the day after the election, i said the republican majority
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would accept new revenue as part of a balanced approach that includes real spending cuts and reform. now, the white house took three weeks to respond with any kind of a proposal and much to my disappointment, it wasn't a serious one. still, i'm willing to move forward in good faith. our original framework still stands. instead of raising tax rates, we can produce a similar amount of revenue reforming the tax code to close loopholes and lower tax rates. that's far better for the economy and the american people favor that approach by two to one. they favor it even more when we can also show them that real spending cuts will, in fact, reduce the deficit. there have been many conversations over the last couple of years that could inform a solution. i hope the president will draw from those discussions and work
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with both parties to find common ground. solving the fiscal cliff in a that addresses the true drivers of our debt and saves american jobs will be a great way for the president to start his second term and for the good of our country and my colleagues, we're ready to work with the president to achieve those goals. >> mr. speaker, a couple of things. first, on the issue of tax rates, are you willing to accept no deal that includes some increase in the top tax rates? and i'm also wondering, what our final deadline is on this. >> increasing tax rates draws money away from our economy that needs to be invested in our economy to put the american people back to work. it's the wrong approach. we're willing to put revenues on the table but revenues that come from closing loopholes, getting
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rid of special interest deduckses and not raising rates we think is better for the economy, pure and simple. secondly, the american people expect us to find common ground, to work together and to resolve this and frankly sooner is better than later. >> you've been doing this for a long time. can you be candid about where we are right now, the past 24 hours, is this the necessary public posturing that needs to on right now to get an end game or is there a stalemate going on? >> no, there's a stalemate. let's not kid ourselves. you watch me the last few weeks, i have been very guarded on what i have to say because i don't want to make it harder for me or the president or members of both parties to be able to find common ground but when i come out the day after the election and make it clear that
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republicans will put revenue on the table, i took a great risk and then the white house spends trying to develop a proposal and send one up here that calls for $1.6 trillion in new taxes, calls for a little -- not even $400 billion in cuts, and they want to have this extra spending that's actually greater than the amount they're willing to cut. i mean -- it was not a serious proposal and so right now we're almost nowhere. >> do you expect to speak to the president again? are there meetings scheduled between you and the president? >> a lot of ideas have been put on the table. we've had conversations and i'm sure we'll continue to have conversations. >> do you think the white house is trying to squeeze you and if so, will that work? >> most of you know me pretty
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well. what you see is what you get. i may be affable and someone who can work with members of both parties which i've demonstrated over the 22 years that i have been here. i'm also rather determined to solve our spending problem and to solve this looming debt >> what do republicans want? she keeps saying the president -- >> you can look at the budget from the last two years. there are plenty of specific proposals or part of the conversation the president and i had two years ago. there have been discussions about many of these images this time. >> even the paul ryan the plan
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on medicare does not take effect four years down the road. do you want it to be more immediate? >> i think the debt crisis we face requires us to make serious decisions and to make those decisions now. thank you. >> eric cantor also spoke about the deficit reduction package at this conference that would make it easier for foreign students to stay in the united states. this is 10 minutes. >> good afternoon. we just passed the stem jobs act. it is related to trying to get the economy going again. we know one of america's strength has been innovation. " we have seen the not only
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american students, but many foreign nationals have come to this country to be educated in our colleges and universities, specifically in the stem areas. it will allow these individuals to have a green card if they get a diploma. therefore enabling them to stay in this country to begin their careers and not to go to their home countries and compete with us. this is something we strongly believe in. i think it reflects what all of us think about america, we are a country of unlimited opportunity. we want the best and the brightest to come here. if their spouse or parent is in
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this country legally, instead of waiting three years but only have to wait one year so we can help families unify and they can go about joining the foreign national student and a graduate here as that individual goes about job creation and helping america continue to innovate and lead it. with that, i turn it over to the chairman of our congress -- of our conference. >> thank you for your leadership on this issue. the house is taking the lead on legislation that will help create jobs for our economy. there are over 100 companies across the country that have signed in support of this legislation and hundreds more that will benefit because they recognize this is the way we create jobs, encourage the innovation for the economy. one of the companies is
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microsoft located in washington state. when i talk to microsoft and many innovative companies, they say, we need those employees that have the training, education, engineering, and math. that is what this legislation is about. we want america to be the magnet for the best minds. we want them to come here and get educated and take the ideas they have to improve our lives and products entered into a reality right here in america so we continue to be that land was opportunity for all. >> today we put another down payment on jobs and job creation. for each of these visas that are granted, it is estimated there will be three additional jobs created. for each that apply, this will
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be a very diverse population continuing the tradition of diversity, what of the things that caused us to see this as an improvement and diversity are rich. almost anybody who attends a graduation at the masters or ph.d. level will see those crossing that line come from all over the world in. that is what we did today on getting our immigration to also be one that says, who wants to come to america and has a likely put of success individually and a greater success for all of america. >> today is an important day because this is the beginning of what we need to do for the next two years on immigration. we are going to be working on the says and jobs. most importantly, we will work
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on the things that is important for america. democrats had two years to do something about education -- immigration reform. they had the white house, the senate, and the house and they did nothing. today we started with one step and they opposed it. every time we get closer to them, they try to move the goalposts and they try to move it away from us. let's start working on real reform and doing the things america needs. i think we will start to be successful. >> thank you. this is a jobs bill, first and foremost. it makes no sense to educate people, bright and talented people, and then deport them so they can compete against the united states. it is the mother of all outsourcing. we are outsourcing talent and job creators which does not make sense. i have worked awfully hard over
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the years to try to reunite families. this bill has a very important component that deals with family reunification. this does not solve everything. it is a great step in the right direction. it deals with an important aspect of a broken immigration system. this is an issue we have been talking about four years. finally, thank you for your leadership and getting this done. it is a step in the right direction. i hope it will have much more -- i hope we will have more of these press conferences when it comes to fixing a broken immigration system that does not work for our economic interests. it does not work for -- of franklin, it does not work for the country at all. thank you. >> i have had tech manufacturers, i have had job
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traders come to be and say, we need more highly skilled workers, period. it gives the opportunity for american workers to fill a slot. if we do not have it or if there are not enough -- we always hope there are enough. those men and women who have come here from other countries that have gone to universities and gotten degrees, they have the opportunity to grow businesses and ideas. this is a great start. i think this is one which we cannot only help grow jobs, but we can decrease foreign competition. it makes no sense to educate the world's best and brightest and require them to go home and be our competition. we do not win in that case. the way we when is we keep the best and brightest here, american and foreign, and we
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grow opportunity and create jobs. this is a great step. this is the first piece of reforming immigration. this is the first piece of -- it is immigration and economic opportunity in one step. i was glad to see people from the other side of the i'll step over and support it. >> what was your reaction to what the president said yesterday. >> that is not a serious offer. they are asking for $1.60 trillion in tax hikes. nowhere near that number in spending reform. we have always said we want to fix the problem. we want to make sure we get a hand on the unfunded obligations. we want to stop the spending problem so we can fix the
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deficit. we want to get people back to work. we want to get people back to work, which is why again, we take the position that raising tax rates is absolutely not something that helps get people back to work. >> what was the importance of that, rather than just going ahead with visas that you agree are very, very important? >> well, again, what we believe is this was the first step forward in terms of trying to address the need for modernization in our visa laws. and we have a system of lottery that, frankly, i think, is properly replaced with a system that rewards those who want to come here to help create jobs and help get our economy back on track. so it's very much, i think, in sync with our priority of helping americans get back to work, helping create more jobs for more americans.
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>> democrats have now said after your response towards the white house's proposal that the ball is now in your court, that the onus is on you to put forth a proposal. is the ball in the republicans' court now? >> well, we remain committed at all -- at all instances to engage in discussions that are serious. i think that the proposal that was delivered here by secretary geithner to the speaker and me yesterday was not a serious proposal. we remain in discussions. i know the speaker as well as i do not want to see us go over the fiscal cliff, but feel very strongly we've got to get serious here. we don't want to increase tax rates. we're not going to increase tax rates. and we want to do something about the spending problem. and remember, the good will, the piece that is, i think, determinive here, the speaker's put new revenues on the table just after the election and said we get it. the president won his re- election. we won ours. we have to now come together.
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here is our proposal to the speaker -- to the president that we were unwilling to give a year and a half ago. >> they know they need to put revenant on the table, but will you come back and give them the entitlement cuts? >> we will take this as a serious matter. this is not a game. we are interested in trying to solve the problem for the american people so that we do not see taxes go up on anybody, so we can engage in reform, get the economy going again. we're not playing a game. that offer yesterday was not serious. thank you.
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>> this is about 20 minutes. >> good afternoon. i'm here today with my colleague. i invited him here to be with us this afternoon because yesterday i named tim to be the head of the leadership task force of election reform. i believe how we do our policy is directly related to -- it has a direct impact on the policies that we create in congress. our founders risked their lives and liberties and their sacred honor for a government of the many and not government of the money.
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john larson is the perfect person in that regard. first, i want to talk about the subject at hand. the president has his pen in hand. he is ready to sign the middle class income tax. a similar bill was introduced into the house at that time. since then, we have been asking republican leadership to bring middle income tax cuts to the floor. the clock is ticking. it is important for the tax legislation to happen now. we are calling on the republican leadership in the house to bring this legislation to the floor next week. we believe that not doing that and holding the middle income tax cuts hostage for the tax cuts for the rich will heap mountains mountains of debt on
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future generations. to that end, if there is no announcement of scheduling of the middle income tax cuts -- which by the way, it has tremendous support in the republican caucus -- i think we will get 100% vote if they came to the floor. if it is not scheduled, on tuesday we will be introducing a discharge petition. if we can get a certain number of signatures, it will ring the bill automatically to the floor. that would mean we would need some republicans to support middle income tax cuts to sign on with us. this is very important. so much has been said. this is only one piece of what we have to do before we leave for christmas, hanukkah, kwanzaa, every other holiday that is coming up.
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the other part of it of course is to avoid going over the cliff. you have heard much of what would happen if we do. let's dwell instead on what would happen if we do not go over it. there is so much evidence for the markets and the consumers. there is so much good. that is why we were leased to receive every poor yesterday about the president sticking with his big and bold, balanced approach. it said we have to create jobs and infrastructure, etc. we have to make cuts, but in order to get her from here in terms of you do facing -- in terms of reducing the deficit -- we call upon the republicans to come to the table to get this job done. we're are there to supply votes
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to pass this when they come to an agreement. first and foremost, we would hope that the speaker would say that we are scheduling a middle income tax cut next week. again, elections have consequences. the president campaigned. he made it very clear that he was supporting tax cuts for the middle class and that he wanted the expiration of the tax cuts for the high end. he let the people know that. they voted for him. even more so people support the subject. overwhelming support for the repeal of the higher tax cuts. any questions?
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>> madam leader, the response from the publicans today was instantaneous. mr. cantor just finished saying that they were not going to raise rates. what is your response to that? given that line in the sand, where does this process stand? >> let me say that there are three elements to this -- growth, reduction in spending, and raising revenue. we have voted for -- the democrats have voted for over $1 trillion in cuts and spending. that was part of the budget control act. that is part of how we should go forward. you cannot speak about reducing the deficit without talking about raising revenue.
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i think the president has taken his message to the american. i hope the republicans will listen to that. in the republican caucus -- i'm usually the last person to speak -- i know many members of them are ready to vote for middle income tax cuts. then mckinley the subject of rates and all the rest of that for next year -- and then we can be the subject of rates and all the rest of that for next year and whatever we would do under a broader tax reform package. >> have any of those republicans said --[inaudible]
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>> no. >> last year you raise idea of redefining wealth. making it when million dollars or more. >> just where that republicans would support an expiration of tax cuts. it was about finding out where the republicans were. at that point, they said no. if you make $1 million per year, we will not touch a hair on your head. they hold harmless the wealthiest people in that country, even making over $1 million per year. >> could you see yourself as a compromise supporting the idea of moving that? >> the president would forward a package that reduces the deficit that predicated the
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expiration of the tax cuts. predicated on investments of growth and over one billion -- excuse me, when trillion dollars in cuts. taking one piece or another if you're having a big and bold proposal, you have to have it reduced the deficit. doing it at 250 reduces the deficit. that is what the public understood. that is what they voted for. the number is even larger than the president's margin. in all of the polling, the american people support the expiration of the tax cuts for evil making over $250,000. >> do you support obama having the power to increase the debt limit?
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>> can you clarify something? when he talk about trillions of dollars in cuts , does that factor cuts in cluded in the sequester? >> in the budget control act, it calls for over $1 trillion in cuts. >> the president opposed to propose of wedlock in a certain amount for entitlement programs. do democrats support that? >> first of all, we do democrats, saw savings in medicare of over $700 billion and affordable care act. we use that money to strengthen medicare and extend its life for almost a decade and to increase benefits for seniors now. is there more opportunity for
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that? yes. but not at the expense of an official years. there have been all kinds of -- but not at the expense of beneficiaries. >> st. mary's hospital is a catholic institution in san francisco. should they be required to adjust to this new health plan? >> the compromise is a reasonable one. >> madame leader? >> yes. >> would you support that if it is part of the package? >> i want the middle class to get a break. i would hope we could get the middle income taxes cut. it is important for us not to think that the payroll tax holiday is a substitute for real relief for middle income
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families in our country. in the absence of other things, which might have to be considered, i had hoped that two years would be enough. unfortunately, republicans in congress have stood in the way of many of the job initiatives that the president put forward that would have accelerated the growth that we think is possible. some of it is coming into play. that might be something we have to consider. >> speaker boehner earlier described there being a stalemate. do you think that we will get a deal last minute? >> last-minute is the last day
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of the month. i do not think that is right. we know what is at stake. everyone knows that we have to have cuts, growth, and revenue. why are we stalling? this delay is harmful to confidence and consumers and to the market. it is the holiday shopping season. wouldn't it be better if there were a clear message? the sooner the better. don't toy around with this. give people the confidence so they can buy toys for the children. you might say, ok, there is a reason for it to be that day. but when the markets are looking very carefully at what the intentions of congress are, for us to have anyone doubt that
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we will do this, it is not right. i do not know what the weight is for. it does not like we need to get more information or there are certain variables we do not know about. it is clear. every bipartisan group that has addressed this issue has called for revenue cuts and spending. i will yield to my distinguished colleague. >> can you speak of the stalemate? oflet's keep on the subject the budget. >> the tax code is probably one of the issues that big money weighs in on elections more
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than anywhere else. they are not bashful about it by the way. it is related to this conversation, but it is fundamental to our democracy. i said during the campaign -- our democracy is on the ballot. thank god the president won because now we have a chance to make some of the reforms that i talked about earlier. i want to yield to my colleague, the gentleman from connecticut, longstanding authority on the subject of election reform in terms of the role of money in campaigns -- honoring the vows of our founders for a government of the many, not the government of the money and a person who has
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commanded the respect of our colleagues, has worked with aggressive organizations, brings real authority to the stuff, congressman john larson, chair of our taskforce. >> thank you, madam leader, and i thank you for the opportunity to serve our caucus in an area that is critical to all americans. we are just through major presidential and congressional elections. it is clear from listening to our colleagues and from listening to the people out there in this country that it is long overdue that we refer to as d.a.r.e., which, disclose, amend, reform, enforce, empower, and have reform for election in a way that will make sure that every american has access to the polls and that anyone who seeks to run for public office has the ability and financing to do so and that
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we can limit the amount of money that has so overshadowed our process. to those ends, i am honored that the leader has chosen me to head up the taskforce. there is no shortage of bills. there is no shortage of enthusiasm and ideas that emanates from our caucus. we will be coming to the floor early with legislation that we know will empower the american people. we will work not only within the beltway but outside to take this message forward. we know people who stood in lines far too long and how proud we are of them to stay in lines -- even when the results were known -- to make sure that they did their patriotic duty in the most fundamental right we have, the right to vote.
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this caucus is out to guarantee that that continues to flourish in a way that is fair, in a way that is forward-minded and forward-looking and a way that is just for all americans. thank you, madam leader, for that opportunity. >> any questions on this subject? >> i was just wondering if the administration sees the need for any legislation on election reform. >> the president has said from the end of his campaign and during it that he recognizes the strong need for reform in this process. >> have there been any proposals? >> we will work closely with everyone, including the president -- including our republican colleagues, many of whom have already expressed interest in this area, and we will continue to reach out not only here but outside the beltway as well. >> is there frustration in your caucus that the justice department's voting rights
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section was not more aggressive? there was quite a bit of complaints about voter suppression and gerrymandering around the country where they did not take action. >> by the number of the bills that have been offered and issued, that is an indication that they think the system is less-than-perfect and that we need to continue, and part of our focus will be on enforcement. that is something that has come across loud and clear from the members of our caucus. >> one concern we do have is that the supreme court reviewing title v, section v of the voting rights act. this is really alarming to us. that is what members are fighting closely and want to have legislative action to address or redress as the case may be.
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>> "the wall street journal reports" that senate minority leader mitch mcconnell said republicans wanted changes to eligibility such as means testing and an increase in age requirements regarding medicare. in return, the gop would agree to more tax revenues but not higher rates. what is your response to mr. mcconnell? >> nothing new in that statement from his mitch mcconnell. no. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] host: we are looking at various aspects at the so-called fiscal cliff. joining us for the discussion is steven sloan. he is with politico. could you define what a tax credit is and how that differs from a tax deduction?
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guest: credits and deductions are used to lower somebody's tax bill. if you have it $1,000 tax bill -- basically reduces taxable income, so it takes the taxable income off the top. if you have a $1,000 tax deduction, that is basically a $250 deduction. host: on their tax credits that specifically affect families? guest: some that have expired that are part of the fiscal cliff package. they get much less attention than the bush tax cuts. they are part of the packet of decisions that congress has to make. host: we can go into debt but to highlight four --
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let's start with the child tax credit. what is it? guest: this is a credit that applies to families, some that you can use if you make up to $130,000. it is they $1,000 credit for each child. unless congress acts, that 10000 tax credit will become $500, but becomes less valuable. you can make up to $130,000. host: that is the child tax credits. guest: almost 24 million
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families claimed it in 2009. it is one of the bigger tax credits out there. host: the next one would be the child and dependent care tax credit. guest: is a credit between 20% and a 30% and goes up to $3,000. it helps families with their expenses for child care or if they have dependents and things like that. you can basically claim a credit of $3,000. host: for child care purposes? guest: this helps with dependents. host: the earned income tax credit is what?
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guest: it is a credit whose primary recipients are working parents with children. this is something that is designed to help the low-income families help them have lower tax bills and get money back from the government at the end of the year. host: the phase-out begins at $5,000. to elaborate on what that means? guest: it is something that is aimed at the lower income people scale. that is what we're looking at. host: the final one deals with education. guest: this can about during the stimulus. this is a tax credit for education expenses. it expires at the end of the year unless congress extends it.
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host: when do these impacts take place if nothing is done in december? guest: most of these end at the end of 2012. this would affect people in january. host: what is the benefit for the treasury department? guest: the treasury would get more money. that is money that is no longer coming into the treasury. it is real money. the child tax credit claims in 2009 totaled about $20 million. you can get a sense of how much on the treasury would have gone if that credit were not in place. host: is there a sense of what this has cost the treasury?
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guest: several hundred billion dollars. host: is a large part or is this a side issue as other things get debated? guest: most of the discussion is what happens to the top two tax rates. the's where most of political attention is right now. these are important issues for families. they haven't quite gotten the attention yet. host: lower income, middle income, that is where we're talking. guest: this is the heart of tax policy for low and middle- income families. this is if you're making tax policy at those families. host: steven sloan is our guest as we talk about tax credits.
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if you want to join us and ask questions about the specific credits, here is a chance to do so. here are the numbers. 202-585-3880 for democrats. 202-585-3881 for republicans. 202-585-3882 four independents. journal@c-span.org is our e- mail. what is the sense of congress? guest: nobody wants to take away tax incentives for lower or middle-income americans. these are things that cost money. to tax code isn't the place help families raise children. there are spending programs and things like that. there has been a lot of debate over this yet.
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you could see some more. host: steven sloan is our guest and he is with politico, senior tax reporter. our focus is looking at tax credits. first call from oklahoma, daniel. caller: i just had a question. if they are allowed to let this go over this fiscal cliff, are we going to not have these tax credits for the upcoming taxes we are filing for this year? and also, will congress be able to take their vacations this year even if they do not do their jobs? guest: these are mostly things that will affect the next year. most of these tax credits were
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in place for 2012. it affects your 2013 tax bill which you pay in 2014. the congressional schedule is very much up in the air. everyone is figuring out when they can go home. there is nothing official yet. you could be here very much their christmas eve. host: ann from florida, good morning. caller: good morning. i like to ask steven sloan. he is an incredible guest. i'm in my 50's in florida. i take care of my grandson. what i'm asking you is your generation will not have to be
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on top of these issues. i appreciate all that you do. if you were at my age and you refinanced your home and had good credit, and all that money that goes for paying into the refinance of your home, is that still a deduction as the east today if you refinanced your home? i'm talking the primary home. host: are you affected by the tax credits we're talking about today? caller: i am disabled and i had bone issues. my husband does take one deduction and i take care of my grandchild. my children are married and stable. host: thank you for the
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question. guest: the mortgage interest deduction is still available to you. it has not gone away. the mortgage insurance deduction is a logger in place. you can still claim the mortgage just deduction. host: does it have to be from a recognized day care provider? guest: there are some rules but i think they're pretty flexible the irs has on its website. host: roy is next from indiana on the independent line. caller: he has entered some of the questions.
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you're talking about the mortgage exemption, the money you pay on your mortgage. i have never been able to claim that and i'm 78 years old. i understand the republicans want to do away with that. is that correct? guest: i think no one wants to get rid of the entire mortgage deduction right now. we're hearing talk about whether you would cap the overall amount of the deduction that somebody could claim. this is an idea mitt romney had on the campaign, this idea that you cap the value at $30,000, say.
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if you live in an area with low housing prices, that probably would not affect you. if you live at new york, san francisco where your mortgage is more expensive, it would be easier to bump up against what the deduction cap would be. you might not be itemizing your tax returns at the end of every year. host: next call is mike on the democrat's line. are you there? caller: i have a question for you. i heard president obama is making cuts to medicare if his plan goes through. he wants to cut $400 billion in entitlements. i collect ssdi. i am disabled. these $40 billion cuts in
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entitlements, are they going to affect ssi, ssdi? guest: we do not know what the administration is talking about yet. that offer came from the administration on the hill yesterday. it was not specific. $400 billion is what we are looking at in entitlement savings and we're not sure if it is ssdi or how beneficiaries would be affected. host: children make up a lot of these credits. which of these are affected by the amount of children you have? guest: some of them do matter. the eitc, there was a law that allowed you to climate for more
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than three children. that could go away by the end of the year. host: the earned income tax credit specifically. mary from kentucky on the republican line. caller: good morning. we are small business owners. with many of these taxes going up and there are proposals in kentucky to raise some of our state taxes because we have deficits and pension obligations. not only will we be hit with all of these federal issues but we will be hit with the state issues as well. and i think that we are getting
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close to breaking point with these additional obligations. i do not think that president obama and the people who are advising him really have their finger on the polls of what it will mean for small business owners. that's what concerns me. people like us have been able to cope and still have been able to save and to send our children to college. that is close to going away and this is one of my great concerns. guest: one of the untold parts of the story and sometimes we overlook what is happening in the states. locale raising state and taxes to solve their deficit problems. something to keep in mind when we talk about these detention
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caps. you could be pushed up against a deduction if you live in new york. if you live in new york and have high state and local taxes, if congress moves forward with a deduction cap, you could go right up to that cap. host: 24% of those were claiming the earned income tax credits. 13% climb in the child tax credit. these credits, you can use them simultaneously. guest: some of these are refundable which means you get money back even if your tax bill is zero.
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whatever the refundable amount is, you get to take home. host: we will go to ray in atlanta, georgia. caller: how much will an individual or can an individual receive who has two children in a single-parent household? what is the maximum amount of money they receive back in the form of tax credits? once you look at that and if there at that dollar level, we're finding their children for free and reduced lunch and i assume adding some additional
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money for their housing. what is the maximum amount of money a person can receive? guest: i do not think there is an easy number 2.2. -- to point to. so one can receive $50,000 on these credits when they combine them. there are other programs out there like free lunch at school that goal in combination with these tax programs to support low and middle-income families. host: loretta from cleveland, ohio. caller: good morning. do you know how many corporations in america file for the republicans corporate tax cuts each year? why aren't they means tested? corporations with billions in
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profits should not get tax cuts. they have enough money to pay their taxes. my second question is about the mortgage deduction. i think they should be only on the primary home. senator mccain has seven homes. i you telling me he is getting a deduction on all seven? that is class warfare. guest: the mortgage interest deduction is mostly focused on your primary home. you get phased out, if you will. the corporate tax code is not getting a lot of talk because everybody is focused with what happens with the top two brackets of the bush tax cuts. companies are lobbying congress
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to push down their tax rates by as much as 10 percentage points. i don't think is going in the direction that the caller wants. host: a comment from twitter. eric from fairfax, virginia, is next. caller: i'm confused by congress is not willing to look at the root cause of the troubles that we are having. the fiscal cliff -- this reserve system that our monetary policy drives us to use it, the notion of creating something from nothing, i think that's what we need to focus. the problem is not what taxes
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going up or down, nor does it have anything to do with what the government gives or does not give to the people. congress is not thinking out of the box. i think it will be the status quo and i'm disappointed. guest: it is important to talk about fiscal policy and monetary policy. congress doesn't have that much control over what the federal reserve is doing. there has been anger about how the federal reserve has reacted to the recession and a lot has happened on capitol hill. congress' hands are somewhat tied. host: paul joins us on the independent line from florida. caller: good morning. i have a question concerning the home mortgage modification
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program. canlike to know if you explain the relationship of this big fiscal suicide we are about to enter. it seems to me that there is an iou in the treasury for close to $4 billion due to the lock box since al gore brought it up. guest: democrats are pressing for some type of mortgage element to the fiscal cliff. the administration has offered money for housing refinance program. it will be important to see where that goes. host: the child tax credits. has has it been supported by those in congress?
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guest: is this what the tax code is here for? is it meant to help subsidize families that are trying to raise children? of focusing on the money you need to bring it to run the government. that is essential element with all of these tax programs. host: tax credits and how you might be affected if the fiscal cliff happens. steven sloan from politico is joining us. willie from chicago is next. good morning. caller: good morning. my question is -- hello? host: you're on. caller: if a company is being paid by the government, a tax
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credit for a guy to work for a company and the state turns around and paste the government to keep the company in a certain state, is that like the government paying for this guy to work for the company? guest: you have federal tax programs that incentivize companies to hire veterans are people that are disadvantaged or maybe people who live on food stamps. those companies can get state incentives to locate in a certain part of the state or to locate to another area and those programs often have interactions. host: gilbert is next. caller: i understand there is a lot of fussing about oil
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companies getting subsidy from the government. exxonmobil pace multi millions of dollars in federal income tax every year. what exactly is this subsidy that the oil companies are getting? guest: there are a host of tax incentives for oil companies. these tax incentives basically allow them to pay less on their equipment and things like that. they do get a lot of attention. congress has tried mulled betimes to limit the tax benefits for the top five oil companies. it has not passed because of opposition. mary landrieu said she looked through this as part of a broader package.
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the small businesses -- if you're organized as a partnership, they are not corporations. you claim your business income on your individual tax returns. if that business income kicks you over $250,000, you almost certainly will be subject to higher taxes in january. host: paul, good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i would like to know what these rates would go up to for the individual taxpayer if we do go off the fiscal cliff?
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guest: if we go off the cliff, the rate will go up to 39.6%. the low bracket will go away and the lowest tax bracket will be 15% if we go off the cliff. 15% to 39.6% if we go off the cliff. caller: what about the other rates? host: we have a question on twitter. host: we have a question on twitter. guest: you don't pay taxes on losses. if you're making profits and a picture up over $250,000, that could result in a tax increase
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that kicks you over $250,000. caller: we need jobs in this country. i hear all this money being talked. the average worker -- i am lucky i get 30 hours. they're cutting down to 20 hours at wal-mart. i had a good manager. thank god. i notice a woman comes in. she is a high-end lady. she says we can get anybody to work. you talk about the tax credits. most of us have no chance of getting anything like that.
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we only make enough money to survive. a lot of us get food stamps. i never thought in my life. this is too low republicans and democrats. fascism and communism, it was always party first. that's what our country has come to. it's loyalty to the party first, not the people. we have to come together as true conservatives and true democrats and come together. guest: one of the big lessons we should take away -- we should look at whether these tax incentives result in hiring because these are often temporary tax incentives. is it going to push an employer over the edge to hire somebody? is this a deciding factor to make somebody hire somebody or
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would they have hired them regardless? the government has essentially lost money. host: there are a lot of tax credits that expired in 2012 and some of them go by the work opportunity tax credit. activated military reservist. what is the scope in terms of tax credit for small businesses? guest: the scope of tax provisions that expire, it is massive. it is long list and hard to keep track of them. the work opportunity tax credit is one you mentioned and that was something that expired at the end of 2011 that is up for right now to see whether that is something that can be extended again.
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is something that is the tax credit that applies to companies and gives companies a tax credit for hiring disadvantaged workers, people on food stamps. it is temporary tax policy. host: it rundown of tax credits that would affect you if the fiscal cliff happens is what we're talking about with steven sloan with politico. we have about 20 more minutes with our guest. 202-585-3880 for democrats. 202-585-3881 for republicans. 202-585-3882 for independents.
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you have a story and talk about this visit. what we're talking as far as what the white house is offering? guest: they want an immediate increase for the top earners, the 35% rate going to 39.6%. about $960 billion in immediate revenue. the administration is seeking $1.6 trillion. the rest to come sometime next year as part of tax reform. host: this is the first time republicans are hearing from this from the white house? guest: you could argue the first time since the white house that a member from the administration is going to the hill.
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this is a senior administration official that is coming to the hilt to present what the administration wants to do. host: what happens now? guest: republicans rejected this offer yesterday. it will be interesting to see whether we see some negotiations take place like what we saw during the debt ceiling talks during 2011. also if a start seeing message bills coming out both chambers. both chambers have done plenty of the message bills on this issue. we will be looking to see if the house passes a bill again. that would extend the rates for
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everybody and if the senate passes a bill just for the middle class. we'll look to see if any of that takes place and if we are moving towards a deal. host: jay the republican line, go ahead. caller: thank you for taking my call. they should do away with all tax credits. both parties are the same -- they like to spend to keep in power. why don't they take a 20% deduction and do away with 20% of the government? there is also other taxes like gasoline tax, phone tax. we pay a lot of money to foreign countries that we do not need to. as i think about taxes.
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guest: this is kind of one of the ideas that republicans talk about, and democrats talk about when we talk about moving to tax reform. it is getting the individual provisions. right now it is a complicated mess. the kind of start over with a simple system that has a few income brackets. easier said than done. that is one of the goals here. host: jim from twitter says -- guest: absolutely. a lot of these credits and deductions, the standard deduction exceeds what you would get, that you just take that. host: the specific credits we have been talking about prompt a
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question from cindy. guest: yes. you generally have to be working are working outside the home. host: is there an hour requirements? guest: there are a lot of specific requirements. host: kay from richmond, virginia. caller: if somebody is working as hard as they can and making less than $50,000 a year, they count on this refund every year as a savings account, maybe. instead of doing away with some of the benefits that people are getting for free, why are they getting money that equals or - what you're making per hour. you're getting a benefit taken away and they are still getting as much as they did.
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guest: this is a hard balance for congress to strike. how much do you want to give people in credits and how that in directs with other welfare programs. there have been efforts to rein in those programs as the recession has tapered off. host: sonya on the democrat's line. caller: thank you for taking my call. it is my opinion that the situation we find ourselves in with the lack of revenues and our taxes is simply one of the flaws and the in sustainability of supply-side economics and trickle down economics.
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it will not work. let me explain myself. when you do the trickle-down and take the money straight up to the wealthiest and expect them to come back down and trickle the money down through the system, it is not working. we have gone from wages of stagnation and jobs have been shifted elsewhere. if you started with a strong economic base where you had the money starting with the working class and then it would get taxed there at the state, local federal level. it would be spent. those people, the items they bought, it would be taxed again there and on up. and each time, it would be taxed.
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we would have the revenue for infrastructure and the programs. i'll hang up and listen to your comments. guest: it will be interesting to see how this works out going forward. the role of tax policy in government was a big issue during the recent election, whether we should have tax policy that some people skews towards the wealthy or helps corporations more than individuals. that's a lot of what this election was about. it will be interesting to see if anything changes. host: "the san francisco chronicle" talks about the tax issues. does that fall into a category of things that might be considered?
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guest: there is some many moving parts. host: family tax credits -- host: any sense that that is on the table? guest: there are so many moving parts to this. host: you did know that existed. guest: you can go to the joint committee on taxation's website. they have a full list of all of these credits and deductions and how much they cost over time. there is a good explanation of a
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lot of these tax deductions and credits that are in play. you think of the cbo for spending. they are non-partisan body in congress that deals with economists that look at what congress wants to do something related to taxes, here is what it would cost and how much it would do. caller: hi. i'm 52 years old. i just have a question, a general question. they are talking about the rich people.
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i'm not rich by self. the rich people not paying their fair share. i do not see how that came about. it seems the poor are not paying their fair share. i paid to plus 5% last year because i got an education credit. the comment on how they can about that. guest: there has been frustration in the aftermath of the recession as to whether the recession has been devastating. there's been a frustration about whether tax policies have helped top earners and not doing as much for the middle class. we got cut off in the campaign talking about the 47% and what that meant. they are paying payroll taxes
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and things like that. just not paying the income tax. host: tom, go ahead. caller: hello. i like to ask a question as far as the obama health care takes affect. will the benefits if an employer pays your insurance be considered in come and taxed accordingly? that's my question. thank you. guest: as of right now, it would still be protected from taxation.
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that is something on the line as part of tax reform. host: we're talking with aaron, good morning. caller: looking at tax credits on this thing and looking at reducing some of the extraneous taxes that are out there and then we get a tax credit for them? host: can give an example? caller: no, because i have somebody prepare my taxes. they are not a big amount. we're being taxed and taxed again, if that makes any sense to you. guest: that proponent of the tax reform talks about their so much in the code that is extraneous and unnecessary.
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to hold down to something less unwieldy than will we have today. host: mark on the independent line, hi. caller: i appreciate you taking my call. i'm 42. every time there is an election, every four years, there is a big squabble about the unfair taxation. many callers: and the fair thing would be everybody to pay an equal tax. nobody will be left felt that they are being taxed unfairly if everybody was paying the same. andpoor don't have to pay the rich don't have to and the middle class pays the bills.
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and we expect in the federal government to resolve everything? we're still squabbling about how to pay for medicare, medicaid, texas, illegal immigration. nothing in my generation's concerns have been resolved by the federal government. they cannot be found liable. what do we do as individuals? get out from under the federal government? guest: the call reflects a frustration that members of both parties have that congress keeps on ticking the can down the road and tax policy is perhaps the biggest example. we have this dec. routine every
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year where there is a meltdown over tax policy. in 2010, but it was what to do with the bush tax cuts. this time last year we were talking about what to do with the payroll tax cuts. you have to wonder if we're headed toward a reckoning. you have to wonder whether we're heading to some type of big decision that would solve some of these problems for the long term. when we go through such year by year, month by month policy debates, it creates an incentive to sell these once and for all. host: vivian makes this point on twitter. the white house wants to make the tax code simpler.
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that has been floated in years past by other administrations. guest: it is hard to do tax reform. biggest ticket items are the mortgage interest deduction, the protection of the employer- provided health care, things like that. it is hard to go after those in any political climate. there is so much talk about capping deduction. that is a way to do tax reform but not make these hard decisions. you're making it harder -- or reducing its value. host: the changing of the tax code. david brooks makes these points. "the baby boomers are now in
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full retirement mode." aging population means more spending and slower growth. guest: it is import to think about 2012 or 2013 is from 1986. the 1986 tax code overhaul was paid for in part by raising taxes on corporations and investment income. it is hard to see that happening today. we saw that during the campaign. corporations are trying to lower their taxes. it is hard to replicate that kind of thing. there was more good will in 1986 with tax reform.
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we came off the social security deal in 1983. there were some real bipartisan successes. it is hard to see a track record in this climate. caller: thank you. i keep hearing the number $250,000 as the cutoff for the wealthy, if you will. for those of us in middle class in the dc area, that is not wealthy. i heard senator kane in that number to $500,000 and i wonder about the possibility of that proposal being adopted? guest: that is something we will see it play out as these negotiations come to a head.
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people talk about the threshold as being too low. $500,000 is something the democrats have supported in the house. we look at the threshold because that is where you get a lot of revenue. as you move the threshold for their up, you're getting less revenue. host: ellen on the republican line. caller: i have a different kind of question. the earned income tax credit is more beneficial for unmarried parents and for low-income, married, working parents. what does this do to traditional family values? guest: if you're married, you get less of a tax credit then
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you would if you're a single parent. there have been efforts to reduce those kinds of effects going forward. caller: good morning. you made a statement going over the cliff. if you went over the cliff and turnaround and they reset the rates -- the lady from kentucky talk about how obama had raised her taxes. she has gotten more tax breaks since obama was president -- she pays a lower rate than she did for the past 60 years. guest: in terms of the retroactive application --there
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is a possibility we could come back in january and say we will reinstate those tax rates for everybody except those people making more than $250,000. host: we have about 30 seconds. the likelihood these credits will be reduced. guest: it will be a crapshoot. host: steven sloan from politico. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> tomorrow on washington journal, and a look at the mortgage debt relief act, which was passed by congress in the early days of the housing
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crisis, and a discussion of orientation sessions for senior aides and aides of members- elect in congress. and a member of the autistic and advocacy network on being an adult with autism, and the federal role in supporting autistic adults and children. washington journal, live saturday at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> when i think of warren, i think of the "[sa;, pf -- " psalm of life" by longfellow. in departing, leave behind us footsteps on the sands of time. warren rudman the footsteps in
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the united states senate and the sands of time. many people serve here and are soon forgotten, and he is not one of them. i think the reasons are quite simple. he was admired. he had courage. he had principles. he got things done. he made things happen. he cared more about his country and he did about anything else. as a result, his country cares about him, and we care about him, and that is why we are here, and that is why we are honoring him today. it is a great privilege for me to have my name associated with warren. >> tomorrow, we will show you the memorial service for senator warren rudman. vice-president biden, david souder, john mccain, and many others attribute.
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>> at the end of world war ii, we had 12 million men under arms. we had 2000 flag officers and generals. today, we have a thousand flag officers and generals, and 1.2 million under arms. the ratio is totally out of work. we almost have an admiral for every ship in the navy. it is not a captain. it is an animal. all we have done is go through and look at areas where we could not necessarily save all the money, but we could transfer responsibilities that are not truly in the defense of the country out of the pentagon, and consolidate programs and save a significant amount of money. >> this weekend, talk with senator tom coburn about the fiscal cliff, the affordable care act, and the future of the republican party. the president has written
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several books and reports, including his latest, "the debt bomb." live sunday at the 12:00 noon eastern. >> no, we hear from a syrian opposition spokesman about the latest developments in the ongoing syrian civil war. the spokesman urged the international community to intervene, and calls for u.s. leadership, rather than just humanitarian aid. from johns hopkins, this is an hour and a half. >> thank you. thank you for everyone. thank you for the john hopkins university for organizing this event. let me start by sharing with you a personal story that just happened today, which gives you just a sense of how our lives
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became tragic. today, one of my close friends, a well-known activist in my home town, has been killed by indiscriminate shelling in the city. daria is 7 kilometers south of damascus. and it has been days of fighting with the security forces. this is why the security forces target the city. it is very close to the damascus capital. they use the fighter jets and the shelling. the story of mohammad is very important. he is a peaceful activist. he graduated from damascus
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university. since 2003, he was very active on social networks, working with other activists in the city to organize peaceful demonstrations against the war in iraq. this is where the security forces detained him. they released him in 2005. since then, he was very active in humanitarian assistance, along with his friends, including one who was killed in the beginning of the revolution. mohammad established what is called -- a well-known magazine in syria.
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it is called "national grape." daria is world-famous in grapes. this magazine is in arabic and in english. every week, they come up with what is going on the ground. and they come from the analytic pieces from the analysts inside the country. this magazine did an important story. it gives us a sense about the rising of the citizen- journalist. this is why, when we got the news today about the death of mohammad, it was a tragedy to the whole town, and all our civilians. it is hard to lose such an important as activists. this is the same news we got yesterday.
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i lost four of my persons, three of them are children, in my extended family, for one of the missiles and fighter jets that left members of my family killed -- five years old, three years old, and one year old, and their grandfather. this unfortunately became every day news we got, with the use of the regime of the air force and fighter jets. in all the cases, when in the regime -- the use of the air force will increase the number of casualties will be killed every day. this is what happened. yesterday, as example, 159 has been killed. according to the statistics, 141 have been killed by the air force, and all of them are civilians. even just and two areas.
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there is no resistance to the army in cities, and still the regime can target those cities by the air force. we understand why the first priority to the syrians right now is to find out how we can disable the airforce system by imposing a no-fly zone or deploying the free syrian army with anti-aircraft weapons, at least to defend that huge number of civilians and children and women being killed day-by-day. that goes with me to the second point about the gap between the international community and what is going on the ground in syria right now.
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if we read today the statements from the friends of the syrian people conference, held in tokyo, and we read the fifth article, which says, they will come, the formation of the national coalition of syrian opposition forces -- we argue this coalition to come up with a peaceful transition. that gives a sense of how that is far away from the reality on the ground. in syria, more than 45,000 husband killed, and the same number maybe is missing. one example of the missing people -- you still have no information of who has been killed. the main source of statistics to get all of this information, there is none.
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of the same time, more than 10 million-displaced inside the country. there is no one in the city. only activists, doing humanitarian assistance for some people who cannot afford to leave the city, or maybe some fighters from the free syrian army. you have more than a half- million syrian refugees in the neighboring countries. this is why you have a humanitarian tragedy. at the same time, everyone knows the main source is the regime. if you allow the regime to stay more and more days,, that is more people being killed, more people becoming refugees.
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despite all of this and the use of the regime of the missiles and the fighter jets, the air helicopters, and all of that -- still, the international community speaks on behalf of peaceful transition. this gives you a sense of how far away the international community is from the realities on the ground. everyone believes the only way you can support the syrian people is to provide a no-fly zone, or the necessary arms and weapons to be able to defend the syrian people and to endorse the crisis. -- to end the crisis. at the same time, the free syrian army, as you know, came as a consequence of the assad regime. the syrian revolution started
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as a peaceful revolution, from march 2011 until september 2011. until september, more than 4200 has been killed in these peaceful demonstrations, with the systematic killing machine of the assad regime. in september, some army officials who refused to open fire on their brothers or fellow
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citizens decided to form what is called the free syrian army. this free syrian army played a role, from september until december, in defending and protecting the peaceful demonstrations in different areas. with the troops and attacks from the regime, that encourage the free syrian army to play a role in trying to get an offensive role, to allow more protection to the syrian people. that increase of the airforce from the regime -- that left the free syrian army more responsibilities to protect and defend the syrian people. we see the terminology, of the syrian revolution changes the dynamics from peaceful demonstration. the creation of the free syrian army played a defensive role. the free syrian army became the
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heroes of the syrian people, and the only way to and they crisis. -- to end the crisis. the international community did little to help the syrian people to end the regime. the dynamics did not reflect the change of the position of the international community. the international community, in august 2011, was a key international leader. the u.s., britain, and france told bashar al assad to step down and allow a peaceful transition. he did not act accordingly. he continued to use his security forces and the army to target the civilians and the syrian demonstrators. at exactly the same time, when the international community
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tried to play a role in the security council, the security council was unable, because of russia and china, which vetoed three times, and double the toe -- double veto, any actions against the assange regime. -- assad regime. should the international community's do actions beyond our outside the security council? it is not allowed for more casualties to be killed. syria, as a nation and the country, is threatened. they side effect of that, as we see right now -- more radicalization, from the country.
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we see increasing anti-western sentiment in syrian society. that is maybe more to hottest from other countries enough to join the syrian -- more jihadists to join the syrian regime. that is different from maybe the assad regime. that percentage has been exaggerated by the media. he called all the freedom fighters as a terrorist or jihadists or al qaeda, like that. the situation or the change of dynamics of the revolution reflected on the dynamics of the free syrian army. there is no central command. there are different groups in different cities and different areas. since those areas are not
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geographically connected, it is very difficult, for security reasons, to bring up a central command that can think and strategizing about the military operation, and that is exactly what has happened. i have been in syria last month, visiting the areas. you can see the freedom fighters in different cities. all of them complain about the air force, and nothing to do about it. this is something out of their hands. at the same time, complaining of the lack of financial support they got from the opposition or international community. would that make the situation more difficult? despite that, all of these liberated areas, they became very excited. they start thinking about some civilian projects.
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in one city, as example, six elementary and secondary schools are out of service. no one is interested to send his kids to the school. when i left the city -- next week, a fighter jet hits one of the schools. this is why none of the people are interested to send their kids to the school. they are still easy targets. even the hospitals are being targeted by the regime. we cannot call these as mainly liberated areas, because they are still targeted by the air force of the assad regime. that reflects the difficulties between the different groups of the three syrian army.
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we have borders with iraq and turkey under the control of the free syrian army. because of the absence of having a central command of the free syrian army, each border is controlled by a different group. there is a lack of authority which can extend its power. there is high risk for any political parties or any group of the opposition to operate freely in that area. yesterday as example, the assad forces hit back, exactly on the borders of syria and turkey, and turkey did nothing about it. now, turkey calls for a battery to put it there. we do not know if they would handle and the operation inside
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syria. turkey says right now this is only for defense. the division within the international community -- basically, the security council reflected on the division within the opposition. the creation of the syrian national council was in october 2011 last year,, as a response to the greater demands of the syrian people to the opposition officials to ally themselves in one organization. that became an excuse from the international community that we cannot help. that is the issue of creation of the syrian national council. the syrian people, they've put in their minds what happened in libya. the libyan transitional council, established. the security council adopted resolution 1970, which after 11
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days put sanctions on the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by gaddafi. the good of the regime continued killing its own people -- the good of the regime continue killing its own people. -- the gaddafi regime continued killing its own people. the libyan council adopted a resolution to do everything to protect the civilians. none of these have been in syria. this is why the syrian people will not support the syrian national council in a way this new council, this new opposition leadership, will bring some help. will bring some protection to be civilians in syria.
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unfortunately, none of these have been. this is why we see this decline in the credibility among the syrians. when you meet any syrian, he will say, they did nothing for us, and nothing to do about it. after a year from this gap, which i explained before, between the position of the international community and the situation on the ground, the international community decided to play a game with the opposition again. the, they decide they have to work with another organization and a new coalition. this coalition -- basically it has the same members. 80 members. it is former members. nothing, basically, unchanged in
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the structure. if the international community did not take any actions to protect the syrian people, the syrians themselves -- they will ask what the new coalition did for us. the first coalition adopted was after six months. no financial support being provided to the syrian national council. with the new national coalition, we will see that the new coalition will basically lose credibility among the syrians. there needs to be a promise the international community will
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take actions to protect the civilians. this is the fear i have, that this is actually -- i call it the dangerous game of the international community. blaming the opposition rather than doing actions. always, we have the same cases in other countries. in kosovo before. in bosnia. it is the easy part of the game, to blame the opposition being disorganized. this is obvious, after 40 years of dictatorships. the syrians do not know each other. they do not trust each other. it is difficult for them to work together in one organization, with no financial support, with no training support, with no action is being provided to protect the syrian people. this is why the credibility of the new coalition will be at
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stake if there are no actions being taken soon and quickly by the international community. this will be held again in next month, december 12. if this conference comes up with the same agenda, the same statements, i do not think the new coalition can survive. i do not think the syrians can give to support for any new opposition leadership. what is the role of the international community? there are five things important to do. as i have said before, syria
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demonstrates the failure of the international community to prevent crimes against humanity happening. after what has happened in rwanda in the 1990's, and in bosnia, the international community came up with an excellent idea after that, in establishing the international criminal court in july of 2002. after that, the responsibility is to protect in 2005. after that, the international community will understand that if a state cannot commit crimes against its own people. should the international community -- the syrian case officially approve that all of this discussion and all of that was untrue.
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we have been seeing crimes against humanity. we have been seeing war crimes committed by the regime, day-by- day. children, women -- we see all the time torture. children are being tortured. we have been seeing cases of rape in different areas. we have seen a systematic and widespread policy of targeting organization figures and leaders. these are crimes against amenity. -- humanity. despite all of that, we have five special sessions of the
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u.n. human rights council in geneva. they come up with strong resolutions that what is happening in syria are crimes against humanity. they establish an inquiry to investigate these crimes. the convince the security council to bring the crimes to the international criminal court. none of this happens. this is why the credibility of the international justice system, which supports the international criminal court, as a guardian of the international justice system -- it is at stake. this is why the swiss government -- they come up with an initiative which, until now, 40 countries signed this initiative. they called many members in africa, in europe, in the international community, to support and to call to arms the
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security council, to refer that crimes happened to the international criminal court. the second issue -- the necessary support to the situation on the ground, according to the syrians. as i said before, the gap from the international community and what is going on the ground -- we have to reconcile the and the syrians -- they do not call for humanitarian assistance. if they allow assad to stay in office, we are dealing with the symptoms, rather than the disease. if we just focus on humanitarian assistance, the next day, we have hundreds and thousands more refugees. we should deal with the disease itself.
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we have to support the free syrian army, and take actions to support the end of the regime. otherwise, we are allowing for more humanitarian tragedy to come in syria. the last thing i want to emphasize is the responsibility of the international community to the syrians after the fall of the regime, because syria is not like libya. libya, at least the had resources, their own resources, a national resources. syria has nothing. only human beings. syria, the capital is one of the old as capitals in the world. this is why if syria -- they
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need international support. the only way to invest in syria in the future, by building strong internationally. build a strong the national education system. this is the only way you can invest in syrians. this is why syria has to have a long-term plan to recover. syria needs at least $60 billion to recover. with all the destruction that we have in all of our cities.
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is an important issue. sometimes we emphasize the issues from their own perspective. when the syrian uprising started, christians, alawites, and christians being killed by participating. he decided to go back to his hometown. he is from damascus, but he is playing a role by training journalist to do the video to document the crimes. he is being killed. he became one of the icons of the syrian revolution. it is many, many names. this is why the leader of the syrian council is kurdish and the third leader is christian.
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we do not have any problems being christian or kurdish or any background if you are committed to the interest of the syrian people.
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what kind of guarantees can the syrian opposition can give to the minorities? we can see clearly that this is up to the syrian people after the fall of the assad regime. the nature of the syrian revolution has no discrimination against any minorities. this is why we do not have any fear that specific actions will be taken against minorities, against christians. we do not forget at the same time the assad -- if you are the assad regime, but it belongs to the alawites. if you are made specific group within the alawite community, you are investing in the civil war.
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there is a fear about the future of the alawite community. since many from the community, they played a role killing other syrians for money, for support from the security forces. but we are committed to the syrians for all. we are proposing within the opposition a program called a transitional justice that can assure all the minorities to be a part from syria -- in 1956 the prime minister, the majority of the christians.
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a minority of the minority. even that as he became prime minister for two terms. the muslims have 4 seats in parliament and this supported his positions. in syria we did not have a history of civil war. many changes in the social fabric. i think the nature of the syrian society as a conciliation between still exists. this is a great asset that syrians have. we are proud as a diverse society. we are proud to have all of the syrians contributing to the syrian revolution. >> thank you. will open up a q&a. >> thank you. i have a question regarding --
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there is a concern about other are different ideologies between the opposition. i think an example was sell a couple of weeks ago some of islamist groups proclaimed against the opposition saying it was was turned supported. i wanted to ask you, what are the ideology's between the opposition's. how could is affecting their position. >> can we take one more. the guy in the back. >> is today the ambassador to syria reiterated the fear that
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if the u.s. provides weapons to the syrian opposition they will wind up in the hands of extremists. i was wondering if you could speak about what the new coalition is specifically doing to build a closer relationship with the three syrian army and various militias fighting on the ground. it seems more likely the syrian opposition will receive assistance if the new coalition can show they are in away unified with the people doing the fighting. >> thank you. >> the u.s. position has been repeated many times that we will not give assistance, it may go to the wrong hands. if the u.s. stays in its position, they are getting the
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money from some groups in the gulf countries or in other areas. you can play a role in the transition rather than waiting until the transition is done. the lack of support, we see the increasing influence. this is the fear we have. this is a shared concern of the international community. we do not need the nature of the syrian people -- committed to the international community and the humanity to be a in the hands of the extremists.
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this is our concern before. we cannot see for the people fighting against the assad role, sorry, we do not need your help. we are promised maybe next month or 10 years later, that is when they get the support. i do not think that. this has been changing as i said before day-by-day. the reluctance of actions of supporting the free syrian army who defected have allowed for islamists and extremist to exist. this is why every day we are in the same -- the same questions we are not shaping the future of assyria.
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rather than changing its policy and supporting and helping out the good guys, the fighters from the army that deflected, in each city we have military councils. this is a serious issue for the west. you'll see stories every day about this. if you go to the ground in syria, it is only two or 3% from the fighters coming from the end to a modest background. this is not the issue that the syrians are concerned about now. this is an issue for the western media, but this is not the priority. we have concerned about the
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increasing relations of members of the armed forces or the armed opposition is. we are really concerned about that. we see cases of torture, killings, execution. there are individual cases, it is not like what the assad regime committed day-by-day. we are concerned. we condemn all the human rights
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violations committed by any side. at the same time this is a side effect. these are the consequences of the election. if there is no action that has been taken to protect the civilians. regarding the ideologies of the opposition, the syrian society is very rich. you have different people coming from different backgrounds. that, of course, is reflected on their ideology. all syrians share the same goal that assad has to go. syrians have the right to choose their government, the president, and any individual to run the world. as these ideologies are conflicting right now, that is normal.
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we see that in egypt. each side tries to extend its power through institutions, through the constitution. i think this is a healthy discussion, especially after 40 years of dictatorship. the people are not used to sharing their opinions and hearing other opinions. they need some time to be able to reconcile all of the different ideologies. at the end, i believe in the syrian people that they will be able to end the assad regime.
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>> thank you. i would like to debate on the ideologies and the syrian opposition. i will let you go into this issue. can you talking about the role played by the syrian muslim brotherhood within the opposition. the majority of the seats still being that of the muslim brotherhood. the leaders are close -- what is the role played by them? >> i think the united states has to deal with the reality with the rise of muslim
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brotherhood and the whole region, not only in to tunisia, egypt. the difference from country to another country of course. when they are part of the government. if we analyze their behavior as an example, they are often told to share with their positions in the government and the parliament. in egypt they have some problems right now with the position of the egyptian president which belongs to the muslim brotherhood. at the same time we see morsi play an important role between negotiating between israel and
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hamas and being supported by the united states. this is why i do not have a fear about the role of the muslim brotherhood. even though sometimes the fear we have right now -- we can call them exactly like the christian democrats and in europe. they need some time to be more able -- to be able -- they are very successful on the side of the opposition. right now in sight of the government, there is a tremendous responsibility. we have seen that from the parliamentarian elections were
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the muslim brothers in egypt but the majority. until the results, they lost 4 million of votes. this is why we have a responsibility in the united states to support democratic institutions not allowing any ideological block to hijack the revolution or the institutions. at the same time, not taking sides. that will have a negative impact. it is an important asset to combat the jihadists or the extremists. the muslim brothers in tunisia
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accused. this is why we have to differentiates between the muslim brothers and the jihadists. do not put all the islamists in one basket. are they committed to values. this is the most important thing. >> and we have seen in syria where they had a violent fight between the muslim brothers and the alawites.
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that is a particular case in the region. >> this is why the muslim brothers in syria will be different than other countries. in egypt they built their own social network during the mubarak regime. there is a resolution called 49, which actually everybody belonging to the muslim brothers will be executed. this is why nobody inside syria can say -- there is a lot, they can be executed. that is still affected -- that is still effective today. that is why it is hard to
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believe they will play a crucial role in the future. they do not have such a social network. syrian society is different. you cannot say that the muslim brotherhood is dominating. right now, of course, who are the fighters? to have some islamist values. they would sacrifice their lives. the revolution is different than election days. we have seen that in libya. >> we will now take the next two questions. >> doctor, thank you for the
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presentation today. two quick questions. do you look at this week with the successes the opposition had on the ground, around damascus, as a turning point as well? do you think when assad goes, will it be gradual or a collapse of the regime? >> we would like to take one more. if there is anybody else who has not spoken yet, please. >> i just want to go back to the discussion about the new coalition be informed. in many ways it is the same as the previous opposition movement. what really has changed?
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if you could speak to that. really more about the motivation as to why they reformed. >> yes. why we have seen a very progressive and the free syrian army, of course, the border is quite open. as you know as a military person, you have to keep your channels open. the difficulties of damascus and the damascus suburb, the channels are not really open. this is why jordan cannot play an important decision. the progress that the free
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syrian army has with all of the problems they have, they make steady progress. the army channels was open with turkey. turkey allowed all of the arms to cross the border. you can go from turkey right now. this has not happened with the damascus suburb. this is why much of the work has to create army channels in the south. if the opposition was able to secure such a channel, that will change. we see right now, the free syrian army was able to capture many military bases not only in the north but to damascus suburb. this is why the increasing use
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of the air force, because the fear of the assad regime. the free syrian army was able to control all of the suburbs and to organize itself and get inside to the city and control the city. this is why they fear from the damascus to be repeated. this is why they are fighting with the presence of the free syrian army. this is why the huge number of casualties being killed every day and all of that area.
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this is why my expectation that if the international community -- the assad regime in one or two months will collapse. if they allow things, it will take some time. the free syrian army has to be more organized. the number of the casualties will increase day-by-day. unless the international community decides to take action and provide the free syrian army with arms. with the question regarding the opposition, this is a dangerous game from the international community to blame the opposition and put all of the responsibilities on the
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opposition. 90% of the task into the hands of the international community. at the same time, the opposition has a responsibility to demonstrate to the international community that syria will not fall -- that it will be messy after the fall of the assad regime. this is why there is a huge debate to form a government, to start in the liberated area and extend its power through all of the areas. this is all of the discussion
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right now about who has the right to form transitional government. we hosted a conference in in istanbul last month with more than 212 members of the opposition attended, among them 83 activists inside syria. we said that the best way to form a government with 300 members, that will include the three syrian army, the national council, the new coalition and all the different groups. still, of course, this conference should be held inside syria. still, i think the international community from far away committed itself to do
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military actions against the assad regime. the possibility to have the conference inside syria, it is quite difficult. at the same time, the new coalition now debating and discussing the formation of the new government and from my perspective, to have all the opposition figures in one united group, it is impossible. you cannot bring democracy to these republics. cannabinol different fractions into the opposition -- there are liberals, there are communists. you cannot put them in one organization with the islamists. they all share the same goal. assad has to go. call it transitional government, this one will be
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responsible. will have positions like the minister of defense he will be responsible for arming the free syrian army or building central command. we need a body to be able to do all of these things. you will keep all of the political organizations. they can have the government work in a much better way. the dream to have all of the opposition figures and what
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organization, i do not think that will happen. day-by-day you will have no opposition figures and leaders rising -- new opposition figures and leaders rising. this is what happened with the syrian national council. the syrian national council to include more opposition, we ended up with an organization with more than 600 members. we had the last assembly with 400 members. at the same time, you cannot take actions -- this is why i
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think the best way to do right now to form a transitional government, ought to do the work of the syrian revolution rather than trying to build new organizations will have the same mistakes that happened before. >> to follow up on your question, they were trying to target and we can the regime and up to now we have seen 73 high officers including military officials defected. so is this really working to weaken the regime with this kind of strategy? >>of course with the defection of the former prime minister and the military. the regime can no longer rely on his army. the assad regime is not thinking to send any troops to the northern part. he has no more resources to
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send. he can not rely on the army anymore. he still has soem groups within the army like the republican guard, special forces loyal to him. the special forces are not spread in the whole country.we
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know the days of assad is counting. we are always talking about the prize and the times. this is our repsonsibility to put an end to the tragedy. the whoe country cut off from the internet. we do not know what will happen -- the fear because we provide the activists with internet devices, they are still uploading all of the videos. there is a huge fear among the activists about what will happen because the whole country went offline. >> we will take one question.
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we would like to talk about foreign stakeholders' liked iran and russia. >>thank you for your answers. i'm looking for something a little bit more specific. what is the relation between the new coalition and the military council? do you think they can become an administrative body for the revolution or a government in exile as you just described? >> is there a follow-up question? the new coalition actually put three things they have to do. the first to form a new
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government and to form a military council, and in the third thing the to play a role in the humanitarian assistance or humanitarian aid. the debate right now within the new coalition, are we able to form a government until we get it in guarantees from the international community. restated three examples before of government in exile. if there is no recognition of the international community, there is nothing the government in exile can do. the second thing is the
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financial assistance. i said before, after the formation of the syrian national council, six months we don't have what we need to do. you cannot work as a workin exile with individual budgets. the relationship with the freed syrian army is quite difficult. they need the support. we do not look to the united states as a humanitarian assistance. we look for the united states as leadership. everyone looking for the united
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states to play a role in the leadership. the united states can only demonstrate such leadership. the united states is the only country that can train the free syrian army to build a central command. this is why every time they see that, to increase the humanitarian aid. we are thankful for that, but we do not expect the united states to do humanitarian assistance. other countries can do this part. we are looking for the leadership from the united states, especially at this specific time. the united states is the only country that can build the coalition to take action. france called for aid, nothing happened. turkey called for safe haven,
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nothing happened. everybody is looking to the united states. unfortunately, it is the same position since august of last year, which focused more on the target sanctions and all of that. unless there is actually a change in the u.s. position to take more action, i do not think something will change in the military. building a central command of the free syrian army, that needs training, international assistance. that is something only the united states can do. >> do you have a follow up question? >> my question is, you have said the days of assad are numbered and it is only a matter of time
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before he falls. what can we expect to happen with them when he falls? will we see a scene similar to libya where his body is dragged through the streets? will he be tried in syria? what do you envision to happen, and what do you hope to happen? >> that is difficult to answer. we know the days of the regime is approaching. that may take one year or more. we see that with the reluctance and the hesitance of the international community, the increase of the side effects. the rise of the islamists. this is why when the uprising started, we will make sure a democratic state will be replaced after the regime.
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with all of the side effects, now we are in the middle of conflict. the reluctance of the international community to take action, that will take time. it will be more difficult. i think the most important thing right now and the three things i mentioned, he needs to be tried in an international court. we need him to be tried in front of the international criminal court as a war criminal for the crimes he committed against the syrian people. that is where we send a message to all leaders. we send a message to the international community about
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the commitment of the syrian people to build a justice system. we do not need it to happen -- many syrians believe he has to be executed. i think assad has to be tried for the crimes he committed against the syrian people. the concern i have of the side effects of the consequences, as the conflict prolongs we will have more side effects. they became the main group fighters. they have been accused by the united states and others as linked to al qaeda. because of lack of assistance and lack of the support, the
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freedom fighters, they can get, we see the emergence of the other groups. this is why the inaction is not an option. the united states took no action. no action is not an option because of the consequences. if the united states put it as a priority it for the policy in the middle east and cut off the connection between assad and iran, you have to cut off the assad regime. making iran much weaker. iran and russia are the main
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suppliers of the assad regime. russians are still supplying and supporting the assad regime. all the assad army, it is soviet union troops. this is why i see a vital u.s. interest in ending the assad regime. the side effects might the consequences, the create more options. >> you have been talking about
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the international community. i think that as long as the interest of key countries like you just mentioned, russia, the only port they have outside of russian territory in syria. or after the sanctions on iran, syria became the major importer for weapons from russia. veryimportant issue for russia, as well as iran sending fighters to fight along the lines of the regime. as well as china with the issue of human rights. as long as the international community does not address the interests of the importance
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stakeholders, that is not really going to help. what is your take on that? >> i think they have very short form policy. i have been in moscow and we met with the russian minister of foreign affairs. syria and russia have a relationship. we need to keep such a relationship, but with such short policies by defending the assad regime, you of making such a relationship very difficult. i think the syrians see russia the same as they see the assad regime. when you see your brother and sister being killed every day -- i have been in syria and i have lots of examples. when the syrian people solve all of this happen for them, of
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course, they will change their position on russia. i think for russia to keep their ambassador, it is difficult to keep him in damascus. any government in the future, they will put their relationship with russia and iran as a priority. there are many voices within the opposition, and the syrian government should be open to negotiations about the role of iran supporting the assad regime.
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there are eye reports of the presence of hezbollah. should they be accountable for what they have done to the syrian people. most of the snipers are being trained by iranians. i met with the prime minister, and he told me that the last meeting he had with assad, and assad told him we just got a new deal with the russians. there is an increasing concern that the syrians have about the future role of iran and russia in their future. >> one final question from the audience.
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i will ask you a final question. we have heard about the role they have played in this conflict. you have commented you have been there several times -- if you could talk a little bit about qatar and a saudi relations regarding syria. >> before the arab at spurring the there were active in what is called conflict resolution. they played a role with the different factions and the palestinians. this is nothing new for them. they have already equipped the
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minister of foreign affairs. they are actually -- they have the experience to deal with asian. when the syrian uprising started, they have very good relationship. they have a very good relationship with the assad regime, like the libyans. unlike khaddafi. assad has a strong relationship. we have to keep our relationships with the syrian
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people or the assad regime, that's pushed them to change their positions and their policy to support the syrian people. they are playing a role, especially turkey, when they send it to damascus many times, the last time in july this is why i think we should put this into consideration. there is no consistent policy to change the assad regime. but the policies of the assad regime make enemies for him.
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if you turn on the state media, you will proclaim now we have international policy against syria. this is the policy of the assad regime that lead them to be an enemy for all of their previous friends. qatar knows the importance of the politics of syria. syria is the only country connected to iraq, israel -- 3 countries that urgency is graphically connected in the center by syria. syria has a very important location.
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this is why if they left syria to be controlled by iran as the assad regime is doing, they will lose their battle. i can see right now -- syria has become an open ground for many wars between the united states, the russians,iran, the saudis. we try to avoid that from the beginning. we do not need syrians to play the role of the victims of the international and proxy wars. the policies of the regime puts
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syria and such a position right now. i think right now the focus of the syrian people to get rid of the assad regime. their responsibilities of in the future will be to build the government that has good relationships with all the nations and at the same time the desires of the syrian people to have a free country. >> thank you. i would like to leave it to you to sum up in one minute. >> thank you for hosting me at such an important time for the syrian people.
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i hope all of us here can play a role. we hope that the obama administration will put syria as a priority in its foreign policiy. we see the clinton administration in the 1990's -- looking to the obama administration, what can the next secretary of state do to help the syrian people in such a critical time. >> thank you everybody for being here. i hope to see you next friday for our conference on jordan. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> tomorrow on "washington journal" -- live saturday at 7:00 eastern on c-span. >> washington worked his way up, went to harvard law school and
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emigrated out west. he arrived after 1 months of journey by ship, stagecoach, by train. he arrived in this muddy mining town, boarded himself in a blog canyon, established a law practice. he slowly worked his way up and became a very successful lawyer and got involved politically. he ran for congress for eight terms. he then be friend did abraham lincoln, obviously from illinois. washburne stayed as a close colleague during the civil war. after grant was elected president, he initially
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appointed him secretary of state. at that time, washburne became very ill. after 10 days he submitted his resignation. grant regretfully accepted his resignation. over the next several months he regained his health. grant offered him the position as minister to france. >>michael hill on elihu washburne, minister to france and the only diplomat from a major power to stay during the siege of paris. sunday night at 8:00 on c-span. >> now, tom donnelly and talks about the u.s. role in the world.
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this is about 50 minutes. >> as you all know, we are very fortunate to have with us the national security adviser to the president, tom donnilon. we are approaching our even a little differently than most do. we start off with a polling of you so he can hit an idea of your thinking on key issues. we have eight quick questions and we will do them rapidly.
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the first question is, during the next decade i believe u.s. defense spending will decline a, substantially,, b, moderately, c, slightly, or it will grow in terms of percentage of gdp. >> it just takes eight seconds to tally up everybody in the room. we come out at only slightly, which is not entirely shocking. we have yet to be shocked by an answer. the united states needs to develop new alliances and global institutions if it is to successfully meet the security challenges of the next decade, true or false? an easy question, but we cannot get anybody to talk about it.
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84%. it will be important for the u.s. and other leading nations to agree on a set of standards and acceptable practices in the area of drone and cyber warfare in the decade ahead. true or false? 73% say it will be important. the single greatest threat to u.s. national security right now is domestic economic problems fiscal, domestic economic problems growth and investment related, international economic upsets, and terrorism, the rise of powerful new rivals, climate change, or other. we can come back to other when we do our question. the two leading answers are domestic economic problems of
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one sort or another. the greatest single threat to u.s. national security 10 years from now -- the same list. of course, the answer is completely predictable, e.
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but we have to understand the limitations of those interventions because you are far worse off if you fail than if you had never gone there in the first place. that resistance syria. -- that brings us to syria. i'm ashamed. i'm ashamed. i'm ashamed of america. i have been to refugee camps and met the all women who have been gang raped. i have met people who have had their kids shot before their rise. i have met the defectors who said their instructions were to go around to rape, kill, and torture. while we sit by and watch that
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happen without giving weapons to defend themselves, this will be a shameful chapter in american history because we could have done something and we can do something today, but we won't. the president has been reelected and he will be re-examining all of this, but only 7000 people have been massacred, in the grand scheme of things, that's not too many, but we could have done something about it and we can still do something about it. we can do it collectively and to allow, in all due respect, because russia vetoes irresolution in the security council is not sufficient enough reason to not act. >> our values are our interests and vice versa? i'm not sure that's the case. in the case of iraq, the interest was to maintain the bastion of power against an obstructionist iran.
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it intervened against the bad guy which was required by values. and then it was liberating the power of iran and making them that much stronger which was given help the airline. let me finish. >> the perception that the time, the greater threat was the weapons of mass destruction. that was a greater threat received, whether it was right or wrong, that we believe the threat from iran was. >> maybe we could not have predicted that outcome. our interests and our values were not the same. when we get to syria, the problem with these countries is that there's a civil war. in a civil war, you do not necessarily tell between good
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guys and bad guys. you give weapons to one party which in subjugates the other and then they slaughter the losers. that is what bothers and so much as the way we have to go there and stay there and then protect our former enemies against our former friends or no slaughtering these guys. that is what the point here is very simple. to go in, you have to be ready to stay to protect those who knew how helped when you help the others. it's a long-term obligations. you cannot just go in and leave. >> i come from a place where we have a different outtake. listening to this discussion and it is kind of wonderful to see how large nations can think about this.
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but i would comment on the following. certainly, when you see human- rights violations and you see the case that senator mccain has described, i understand the moral obligation to find a way to solve things. but i think we're in an era of and not intervention but cooperation. i believe our case could be one to look out. when you intervene, my impression is that, sooner or later, he will harm the people you're trying to support. someone from the outside is trying to solve the problems or to take over.
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but when you think you can support a system that is really willing to make things happen, respecting culture, respecting realities, understanding what is behind, i think the potential of that cooperation and support could bring something more lasting and, if i can use that word. it is not a matter of defending and protecting human rights protecting people, protecting the right values of democracy and respecting human life, but it is the way. that kind of discussion could be come in the following years. from my perspective, from what we have learned, what you have learned in your presence in the middle east, and in other cases like ours.
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i tell you very openly, if we can say we have progress, we have not finished, but we do have progress. we are already having a vision of peace because what we have done and what we have gained. that has come out very well connected to with your support. i have to be frank. with that kind of help. the u.k. has supported us very much. we have been recently asking canada to support us on some of our structural reforms. in my case, right now, military reforms. it is getting a kind of support that is allowing us to get into these different levels.
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not all cases are equal, but it depends on what you find. for most, the idea of intervention and, i think it is better thinking about cooperation, even with the difficult partners. >> i really would like to get to the audience now. we have a fabulous panel. >> thank you so much. i'm from the united states. thank you, mr. mackay for your hospitality this year. this is a brilliant events. i have to say thank you to senator mccain for your service to our country and your calendar, as usual. -- your candor. the title -- of the really are the good guys -- have the special burden. for the first time have been convened in halifax, canada is in the chair of the arctic council.
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after canada's chairmanship it will be the united states. there are only eight nations making up the arctic council, but the whole world is interested. china is interested in maritime commerce potential and the resources and the potential for a car rental catastrophes, which is very gigantic there as well. rescue missions, etc. what is the special burdens of canada and the united states with respect to the arctic council and should countries like china be allowed observance status? do think the next congress will ratify the treaty? if not, why not? >> the special burden, the role of the arctic council members, all of whom are democracies, one of the -- one of the underpinnings is a rules-based system.
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a respect for the rule of law. in addition to accountability to the people who elect you. canada has tremendous attachment and affection and over the largest part of the arctic. there are certain special obligations that come with that, stored ship of the environment. we have enormous interest in our own resources and our people. 40% of canadian land mass is above the 50th parallel, yet we only health -- have 100,000 of our people living there. is an enormous challenge, obligation, even to continue to exert the sovereignty. you mentioned a search and rescue. at this time of year, but there are 24 hours a day and temperatures plummet below 50 degrees celsius.
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you have open waters and changes that are born to create a lot of challenges because more people are simply going to go there and more countries have exerted or expressed an interest. you mentioned china. there are many others who want to be a part of this arctic council. to your question about the obligation to, i think it comes back to people playing by the rules and respectable of the fact that there are places where disputes arise, as is the fact between canada and the united states on the bering sea and some of the border areas of the arctic. i think there is a recognition and that countries who adhere to a rules-based approach, you can resolve these in a court, an
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international court, or the u. andn. the country's -- or the un. if the country is not a democracy, they do not respect rules. putting a suicide bombs on mentally disabled people and sending them into a crowded marketplace? these are unthinkable atrocities that terrorists commit because there is no ground in, no inhibitions. they do not adhere to any role whatsoever. that is why i think some countries, and some jurists, have commented that democracies are sometimes called or handcuffed in their ability to respond in conflict -- sometimes cobbled or handcuffed.
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those rules for many, certainly non-state actors, do not exist, thus the conundrum. how do you respond? and sometimes respond with restraint when you're motion is to do otherwise? >> senator mccain. >> john kerry has been very active in this issue. i think it will require a presidential push to convince a few. i think it's important that we move forward with that. just one additional thing. as i mentioned, and as we know, the world is so rapidly changing. the unpredictability of the world is the one thing but i think we would all agree on. look at the world, as i mentioned last night, the first time we convened here and look at it today. what will it be like four years from now darks we don't know. we have no real idea. anyone who predicted the world four years ago would like -- would be like this today, i
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would like to meet year. -- i would like to meet yuo. we need common principles of international behavior. we have to stick to those principles. all of us, at least during the cold war, we lived in a very predictable world. we did. we knew the divisions and capabilities. we do not know what's going to happen. i don't know what will happen in china. i tell believe that 1.3 billion people are going to be satisfied forever under the present regime in which they live. it seems to me it's even more important that we have certain principles guiding us.
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i want to emphasize again and that it does not mean we go everywhere, fight every battle, pullout are pestilent every provocation. it has to be tempered by reality and it has to be tempered by the fact that we are democracies and we have to have our people behind us. jolie where my people are going so i can get out in front in them. -- show me where my people are going. [laughter] i think it was voltaire. i'm not sure. maybe both. >> next question. i neglected to call my duties as a moderator. if you would please stand, give us your name and organization and represent and then ask your question. >> cameron from canada. i work for research in motion, but that is not relevant. my question is the discussion was about the special board of nato countries and those closely aligned, australia, japan, colombia. there are other great democracy that do not be seen as part of the camps.
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while i would not expect those countries to necessarily sent troops to libya or something like that, i would expect a greater concern for democracy, human rights, especially in those regions, places like zimbabwe and burma. we have not seen them step up take a huge role diplomatically or anything else. is not as leaders of the democratic world, but more as leaders of the developing or emerging economies. that solidarity keeps them from the democratic values that we share. is there a way you can and treat
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those countries to play a greater role to see themselves more as a democratic power and sharing, and democratic values and making that a higher priority in your own foreign policy? >> the short answer would be yes. all those countries that you have listed, and more, certainly in terms of their economic capacity, compared to some of the smaller democracies, particularly some in the americas that have a long history of embracing democratic values, but they would not have the bankroll, if you will, to participate in international missions. again i, i keep using afghanistan as a touchstone, but there are 40 countries with boots on the ground. there are more than 60 that contribute on the development side.
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japan now, sweden. some of those democracies that are really in making a remarkable difference in the day-to-day lives of afghans. there are many ways where democracy can help spread democracy, which i think is a worthwhile endeavor and we would agree. there are different ways in which can engage non-militarily that are arguably going to have a much needed defect in parts of the world right now. in some of these troubled areas, it is clearly at a to pinpoint where development is not the issue. >> but someone has to protect those nice swedes and others who teach their kids against the bad guys, right? if you look around, why aren't other democracies plan and this same game?
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apparently, it seems to be an anglo-saxon have it. no wonder they are the oldest democracies, u.s. and britain are. the brits were already fighting hard among themselves in the 1820's so should they help greece in the uprising against the turks? [laughter] that, by the way, is a very profound joke. if you are an empire that wants to make sure you play by the rules, it is always good to have a group that is discriminated against and they will go off to build an empire. it is very important. it just came to me with that? if you look out the rest of the democratic world, the spaniards, you name it, they're not exactly gung ho about putting their blood on the line when it comes to pursuing our values.
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the point, i guess, here is that you always have to have somebody who runs the show. there has to be one of very large power. usually it is anglo-saxon. we are now in a phase of american development with the power that has carried the burden over the last 60 years, as we all know, wants to lead from behind and is retracting from afghanistan, from iraq, and they're now exerting their power from afar and from above. drones above, boots on the ground. i fear if nobody takes on the responsibility of organizing and maintaining, it will not be in the of -- will not be india. >> go ahead, minister. >> i was just boring to comments -- i was just going to comment, there are more threats brought in the world that are allowing the market sees -- that are allowed and democracies.
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think about this in general terms. is is really creating a problem for nation states in the sense that we have borders, we have constraints. we cannot go after all the problems that we find from drug- trafficking to counterfeiting of the mark explosives, weapons, movement, etc. i think that allows an opportunity for increasing cooperation. by the way, those nations that get isolated with a lack of international support easily can find their democracies at risk.
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in our case, what we're trying to do is understand that anything that happens to our neighbors, in the end, it can become a problem for us. what i think we're trying to use this approach is not to tell them you should do this or that, but go in there and ask what they need. and then say what you can do for them. this is one way to contribute to these -- >> the form of intervention. >> senator mikulski. minister bueno, questions and comments are to you. what can we do to help these democracies?
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this is centered around the topic for concept of mass of reaction where military is needed and then massive expenditures of foreign aid. it senator mccain and rightly said the people in the united states of america are war weary. this goes to colombia and the countries in latin america. in one sense, where democracy plays a role, educational, the empowerment of women, the bringing in a science and technology. you are a world bank guy. you went to harvard and dell was science and technology.
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here we are was tremendous knowledge in these fields. we talk about helping democracies. how do you see that from not only indicating these villages but scholarships and others, whether it is the french, the canadians, the brits, so that there are always for educational, the empowerment of women come are raising their status, inclusion. the american bar society and all those groups. what do you think about that? is it such that unless you have big muscular defense, big muscular foreign aid?
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i don't think america will ever be a wimp in anything, but i have an additional school of thought. what do you think? what could help that in america? >> thank you. generally, to speak a very frankly and what you have requested, the support of law enforcement in colombia has been helpful. that is a first step. as you said coming in several points to develop. increasing security capabilities and increasing the state's capability to promote human rights. in a case like ours, we have had so many problems for so many years, we will continue to strengthen those capabilities. the more that i am the minister of defense, i can tell you we have been discussing this in our own cabinet meetings.
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the more i go to faraway places, going into the jungle, or going in where we are currently under investigative operations to try to bring back these parts of the country into civility, democracy, and to a better future. more and more people in those meetings have 10%, a 15% of the time, security-specific issues. but 80%, 85% of the time, health care solution for an education solution, i think people, certainly, our right. i think what we're trying, and our experience shows that no doubt, you need to bring security in order to start to have the opportunity of promoting human rights. to promote the right values of democracy. but behind that, there are many things you have to, in order to bring equality, in order to promote opportunities for the people.
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i think that is an effort in our case. maybe for the next 20-30 years not just defeating drug traffickers, but what are we going to bring to those places that are not going to allow that to fall into other criminal hands. >> i would just like to say, very quickly, i believe one of the most important aspects of our success in the world is the students who come to the united states and our scholarship programs. i also think our military to military relations. our military to military programs were military from countries all over the world come to the united states and our various schools and colleges and it has paid incredible dividends. exchange programs. 25,000 chinese students graduate from american universities last year. i believe they go home and have a tremendous impact.
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>> i would totally agree. i think senator mccloskey's point is a spot on. in order for the development and the aid to take root, there has to be ground prepared. as security is the essential ingredient -- ingredient. my colleague from columbia would agree. it is like sowing seeds on a paved parking lot. if they're going to blow away. they're not going to take root. education is key to all of that and enabling women. we are seeing more women sitting in parliament and afghanistan that we are in many of our democratic countries. we saw firsthand the impact that girls going to school -- that, to me, will be the absolutely critical piece for that country if it is to continue to evolve in a positive direction as women become decision makers.
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the enthusiasm in which an entire generation of young afghan women have an education is all-inspiring. -- awe-inspiring. but it has to be protected. if people get off the back of the helicopter or plane and be slaughtered unless there are soldiers there to protect them and to the good work. >> the scots and british -- [indiscernible] [laughter] going back to the title, the good guys, in the cold war, we did not believe we were different than the soviets. we believe we were better and that what we stood for and our values were better than theirs. are we in danger, now, in slipping into the equivalent and not wanting to talk about our values in case they undermine an operation in particular?
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i think of the human rights in china and women rights. do we want to still be better, or just different? >> i could attack that first very briefly. i think we made -- history shows us that alliances with people who are on savory who have oppressed their people, who had engaged in bad and corrupt governments usually turns out not to very well, even if it seems to be most convenient at the time. there was an editorial in "washington post" this morning that i agreed with. that is, and that is very unusual. [laughter] it shows that even -- but anyway, i am not so sure that the president of the united states should dignify -- in cambodia. he is corrupt. i also do not believe that,
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